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Germany's federal election, set to be held on 26 September, had for some time been viewed as something of a foregone conclusion. There was little policy change expected after the vote, despite a new individual heading into the chancellery after 15 years in which the imposing figure of Angela Merkel has headed the German government. However, the candidates selected by the major parties to run for the position of chancellor have had a notable impact on opinion polls in recent weeks, which could have a notable impact on the election campaign.

Perhaps most importantly, the so-called 'Union parties', the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) decided - after a bitter and divisive internal campaign - to select CDU chair Armin Laschet as the parties' joint candidate for chancellor (kanzlerkandidat). The choice of Laschet at the expense of CSU head Markus Söder clearly came about due to internal party machinations rather than public approval ratings, with the gregarious Bavarian Söder one of Germany's most popular politicians compared to the unpopular and bureaucratic Laschet.

In contrast to the Union parties, the environmentalist Greens engaged in what, from the outside, appeared a good-natured and comradely contest that ended up with lawyer and Bundestag member Annelena Baerbock gaining the nomination over writer Robert Habeck. The selection of Laschet over Söder as the Union parties' kanzlerkandidat dramatically alters the opinion polling outlook for 'preferred chancellor' as evidenced in the two charts below.

Chart 1. Preferred Chancellor Polling, %, Laschet as Union Candidate (LHS), Söder as Union Candidate (RHS)

Source: Forsa, INSA, MNI

Full article PDF attached below:

MNI POLITICAL RISK ANALYSIS – Greens Gaining On CDU In German Polls.pdf

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