Balance of Power: Angela Merkel’s Struggle to Find a Partner

With Angela Merkel a veritable shoo-in to win a fourth term as chancellor when Germans vote on Sunday, the big question is whether she can build a coalition that favors the wide-ranging measures to shore up the euro that the rest of the currency union is preparing.

Merkel’s current partners, the pro-European Social Democrats, are staring at a historically low result and have expressed great reluctance to support her for another term. Still, if their vote holds up better than expected, they might be persuaded to join another grand coalition and support greater European integration.

But historically, the more skeptical Free Democrats have been the preferred partner for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and they’re among four parties hovering around the 10 percent mark. A strong performance from them could see the return of an alliance that has been resistant to anything that smacks of putting German money on the line to bind the euro area more tightly.

If the Free Democrats struggle, Merkel would need the Greens as well to hit the 50 percent mark. And that could lead to some awkward discussions around the cabinet table. Click here for everything you need to know about the vote.

Election placards of Merkel are displayed prior an election rally in northern Germany.
Photographer: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP

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— With assistance by Karl Maier

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