Germany decides: who will follow Angela Merkel?

Germans will go to the polls on Sunday in what many analysts are calling the most important and unpredictable election in the country in a generation. The Guardian’s Berlin correspondent, Kate Connolly, talks to Nosheen Iqbal about how, for the first time in 16 years, Angela Merkel will not be standing for election, meaning Germany will have a new leader.

It comes after a turbulent period in which a eurozone debt crisis changed the shape of European politics. That was followed by a migration crisis, in which Merkel gained plaudits and harsh criticism when she threw open Germany’s borders and famously said: ‘We can do this.’ There was Brexit, of course, and then the crisis that Germany and the wider world is still dealing with: the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now Germany’s future will be in the hands of a new chancellor. For Merkel’s CDU party, the hopes rest with Armin Laschet, who is struggling for momentum. Polls currently favour his Social Democrat rival, Olaf Scholz. But whoever wins is likely to have to govern a three-party coalition, which could take weeks to put together.

Angela Merkel

Photograph: Reuters

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