Berlin (dpa) – With six days to go until Germany elects its next parliament, the big question is who will succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel after almost 16 years in power.
Armin Laschet of the Christian Democrats (CDU), Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens are all in the running.
Scholz is currently leading in the polls.
Each day, dpa gives you the key mood and memes from the campaign trail.
THEME OF THE DAY: LEFT-WING STITCH-UP?
From the minimum wage to tax plans, Scholz and Baerbock seemed to enjoy rounding on Laschet during a televised debate on Sunday night. More than ever, the two challengers looked like potential coalition partners – one newspaper even accused them of “flirting.” It was, said another, a “pact” between the SPD and Greens. Most agreed: as the last chance for Laschet to show live on TV that he was the best candidate to succeed Merkel, it didn’t go his way.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My feeling is this: a large majority of Germany do not want what we saw last night.”
– Laschet tries to put a positive spin on the previous night’s debate, and warns again against a left-wing coalition government after the elections.
TWEET OF THE DAY
“FDP voters seem to have made up their mind that they do favour Laschet after all. (They were favouring Scholz for a while.) That will matter for the coalition talks.”
– Christian Odendahl (@COdendahl) chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, gives his view on the latest polling.
GOOD DAY: MICKEY MOUSE
A 1993 Mickey Mouse comic got an airing on Sunday night at the last televised debate between the top three candidates. If Mickey Mouse was talking about deforestation and climate change in 1993, the moderator asked in a question directed at Laschet while brandishing the old edition, how come Germany isn’t getting to grips with the issue nearly 30 years later? Laschet responded that his party were in fact already dealing with the issue at that time. Not everyone appreciated the debate prop though, with critics on social media expressing concerns about the level of German political debate. “Politics in a comic format,” was the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s dismissive summary of the whole debate.
BAD DAY: THE GREENS’ GREEN
Driving or walking down German streets can lead to a visual overload these days, with the campaign posters for the competing parties leaning heavily on their trademark colours. The SPD posters catch – or shock – the eye in full bright red mode, with only a black and white image of Scholz himself to lessen the impact. The Free Democrats in Berlin chose an unsettling blue/magenta combination for their artwork. The Greens meanwhile went – unsurprisingly – for green. But was it the right shade? While the party admirably tackled their key campaign priorities on their posters, they should have ditched the lime green , according to communications academic Frank Brettschneider from Hohenheim University. The hue takes “some getting used to,” he said.