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German election too close to call as campaign hits final stretch

09:20 26 September 2021 Author :  

Political parties in Germany are keeping up efforts on Saturday to persuade undecided voters as election campaigns in the country come to a close and with voting to soon begin, according to local media.

Armin Laschet, the Christian Democratic (CDU/CSU) candidate to succeed outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel are scheduled to appear at their last rally in Laschet's hometown of Aachen, according to TV network n-tv.

Laschet's Social Democratic (SPD) rival Olaf Scholz will mainly be in his constituency in the eastern city of Potsdam.

Surveys have indicated in recent days that the outcome was simply too close to call as the SPD holds a narrow lead. Depending on the polling firm, the SPD is at 25% to 26% -- one to four percentage points ahead of the CDU/CSU.

The Greens, with their candidate Annalena Baerbock, are in third place in the polls.

The latest survey published by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy on Friday suggested that there would be a head-to-head race between the SPD and CDU/CSU as it showed the Social Democrats losing a percentage point and coming down to 26% while the CDU/CSU is unchanged at 25%.

The Greens raised their share by 0.5 points to 16%, while the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) were up one point to 10.5 percent. A loss for the far-right AfD party dropped them from 11% to 10%, with the far-left party The Left only barely making it into parliament with 5% after dropping 1%.

Asked about the CDU/CSU's recent gains in the polls, the SPD's Scholz told broadcaster Bild on Friday evening: "There are many, many polls currently and all of them show that the SPD (...) is ahead and that the momentum for the SPD is unbroken."

Scholz reiterated his confidence that voters would "give me the job to form the next government."

At the final rally of the Social Democrats in Cologne, Scholz had previously said a change in government was urgently needed after over 15 years of CDU/CSU leadership under Chancellor Merkel.

- Closing campaign events

The Greens, AfD and The Left held their official closing events on Friday.

In Duesseldorf, the Greens' Baerbock called for an ecological awakening. "This election is a climate election," said Baerbock in front of hundreds of listeners, adding: "This election is about everything."

Less than a day before the polls, nearly 35% of voters were still undecided about who they would vote for or if they would vote at all, a new poll showed, making predictions difficult ahead of the vote.

Nearly 60.4 million people are eligible to cast ballots in Germany, among them 2.9 million first-time voters, according to authorities.

Around 8.4 million German voters are under 30, and their political inclinations are expected to play a role in the establishment of the next coalition government following the elections.

Polling data show that a higher youth voter turnout would mostly favor the pro-environment Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, rather than the traditional established parties.

Merkel remains the country's most popular politician. But, she is not running for another term and did not take an active role in the political campaign of her Christian Democrats./aa

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