German Elections 2017

Germany will head to the polls on September 24th for the country’s federal elections. Chancellor Angela Merkel is in the running for a fourth term, and her center-right Christian Democratic Union is expected to lead the new coalition. Merkel’s biggest rival is SPD’s Martin Schulz, with the two being forerunners for the chancellor position. But with the backdrop of the unexpected results from the French and British elections, and with six parties currently polling enough to allow them seats in the Bundestag, Germany’s new government is not a foregone conclusion.

Here are the seven leading parties vying for seats in the new German government:

Christian Democratic Union (CDU)

Chancellor Angela Merkel is running on the back of three terms in office, but she’s maintained a low-key approach in her campaign thus far. The main slogans her campaign has been running on are security, family, and work.

Ideology: Christian democracy, Liberal conservatism

Political position: Center-right

Leading Candidate: Angela Merkel (Chancellor candidate*)

Christian Social Union (CSU)

The CSU is in alliance with the CDU, and has endorsed Angela Merkel as Chancellor candidate.

Ideology: Bavarian regionalism, Conservatism

Political Position: Center-right

Leading candidate: Joachim Herrmann

Social Democratic Party (SPD)

The Social Democrats are concentrating their campaign on education, family, pensions, investment and wage inequality.

Ideology: Social Democracy

Political Position: Center-left

Leading candidate: Martin Schulz (Chancellor candidate*)

Free Democratic Party (FDP)

The liberal FDP is taking a modern approach in their campaigning, and are targeting the young liberal voter-base.

Ideology: Liberalism, Classical liberalism

Political Position: Center to center-right

Candidate: Christian Lindner

The Green Party / Alliance 90

The Greens remain faithful to their roots and are focusing their campaign of the environment, integration, peace and sustainability.

Ideology: Green politics

Political Position: Center-left

Candidates: Cem Özdemir, Katrin Göring-Eckardt

The Left Party

The leftist party has positioned itself as a counter to the rising right-wing in Germany, and have tackled affordable rents, fairer pensions and an end to arms exports as their main campaign issues.

Ideology: Democratic socialism, Left-wing populism

Political Position: Left-wing to far-left

Candidates: Dietmar Bartsch, Sahra Wagenknecht

Alternative for Germany (AfD)

The right-wing AfD wants to cut immigration and has called for stricter border control across the EU.

What began as a eurosceptic party has morphed into an anti-establishment and anti-EU force.

Ideology: German nationalism, Right-wing populism, Euroscepticism

Political Position: Right-wing to far-right

Candidates: Alexander Gauland, Alice Weidel

*As the CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) are likely to win the most seats in the election, their leading candidates are referred to as Chancellor candidates. This does however not mean that the new Bundestag is legally bound to elect one of them as Chancellor.

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