Balance of Power: Merkel’s Next Term May Just Be Her Last

How Germany Votes: Everything You Need to Know

Barring an unforeseen shock, Angela Merkel is heading for victory in 11 days.

A fourth term as chancellor would be a remarkable achievement, bettered only by Konrad Adenauer in the postwar period and Helmut Kohl in the aftermath of reunification. 

Merkel is leading Germany through equally uncertain times, and the stability she represents helps explain her success. But other hallmarks — the adoption of rival parties’ policies, a cautious hesitancy, and the recent arrival of more than 1 million refugees — are hollowing out the political center.

If the polls are accurate, Merkel may win with a lower share than any of her predecessors. The anti-capitalist Left and the far-right AfD are the main beneficiaries, both jockeying for third place.

Europe’s recovery may well have cleared the way for Merkel to pursue a greater integration of the euro area — with veteran Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble at her side. And globally, she’ll continue to be Donald Trump’s foil and the West’s bridge to Vladimir Putin.

Domestically, however, the division she’s caused suggests this term may be her last.

Schaeuble and Merkel in 1999, a year before she became chair of the CDU.
Photographer: ullstein bild/ullstein bild

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Turning the screws on Iran | Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is consulting allies as he seeks to toughen restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program a month before Trump faces a deadline to decide whether to walk away from the deal. But Iran isn’t blinking — a government spokesman today said it could keep the pact made with the other signatories even if the U.S. decides to exit.

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China hates surprises | With a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle set for next month, top financiers have been put on notice. The regulator has ordered local brokerages to mitigate risks and ensure stable markets through the Communist Party congress, sources say, with brokerage bosses banned from taking holidays or leaving the country from Oct. 11 until the congress ends.  

India’s Trump Towers | After his election, Trump abandoned a number of international projects and promised not to engage in new foreign projects that could trigger conflicts of interest. But with the Indian deals struck earlier, his company is barreling ahead. Blake Schmidt looks at a gold insignia tower, a “Trump Village,” and partners with legal issues.

And finally… JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon said he’d fire any employee trading bitcoin for being “stupid.” The cryptocurrency may be appealing to dictatorships, murderers and drug dealers, but the story “won’t end well,” Dimon told an investor conference in New York. “It’s a fraud.”

Dimon earlier this year.
Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

— With assistance by Kathleen Hunter

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