Local elections in Germany this Sunday will decide the fate of Angela Merkel

Local elections in Germany this Sunday will decide the fate of Angela Merkel

Sunday in the Federal state of Germany North Rhine — Westphalia will hold elections to the local Parliament. These elections have three important features.

First, this is the last election before the election to the Bundestag on September 24. Secondly, it is the most populous land, home to 17 million people, or every fifth inhabitant of the country, so elections in this land called “little elections to the Bundestag”. In-the third, North Rhine — Westphalia is known as a key ground for the Social democratic party of Germany (SPD) and its candidate Martin Schulz’s main rival Angela Merkel in the elections to the Bundestag. Over the last 50 years the social Democrats only once were not included in the government of this Federal land. Now it is ruled by a coalition of green and SPD.

The leader of the SPD, Martin Schulz, announced his candidacy for the post of Chancellor on January 24, after which the ratings of the party went up and even beat a 10 year record. The last eight years, the party could not boast of good results: in 2009, 23% suffered a crushing defeat and went into opposition in 2013, only slightly improving the result, entered into a coalition with Merkel’s party the CDU/CSU. However, in the last two elections to the land Parliament on 26 March in the Saarland region and 7 may in Schleswig-Holstein — “the effect of the Shultz” had not been realized: the winner of them was the CDU. According to recent polls, the CDU and the SPD gaining approximately 31-33% of the vote.

“This Sunday, the social Democrats after two failed votes will receive all or nothing. If they lose this land for themselves, and Schultz will be able to claim a maximum for the post of Vice Chancellor”, — commented the weekly Der Spiegel.

The main topics on the elections in the land will be internal security and education, according to Professor at the Heinrich Heine University in düsseldorf Stefan Marshall: “Often the agenda of these elections goes to the Federal level, and the result will affect the representation of the party in the Bundestag in September. If the social Democrats fail to gain a majority and become the party forming the coalition, the chances of Schultz on the elections to the Bundestag are significantly reduced”.

Schultz more than 10 years was mayor of the city Wuerselen in this land, elections here have to complete a series of setbacks for the social Democrats, said the head of the social-democratic Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Moscow Mirko HEMPEL. Feature of North Rhine — Westphalia lies in the fact that during the influx of refugees land have been particularly hard hit, the local government needs to urgently rebuild the infrastructure, many people have lost a sense of security, he adds.

The social Democrats and the green will not be able to recreate the coalition after the election, says HEMPEL: “Green lose popularity, and therefore a scenario where the coalition will include three or even more parties, more likely. This, of course, is not the best option, but in this situation, just the lesser of two evils”. The surveys should be treated with caution, he said: “Schleswig-Holstein battle unfolded among local party leaders, the same situation will be here and the fight will be very fierce. I hope that the leader of the SPD in North Rhine — Westphalia Hannelore Kraft will be able to protect the position of the SPD in their key region.”