Angela Merkel is fighting a campaign almost entirely on domestic issues, but the results are vital to the rest of Europe

Germans head to the ballot box next Sunday. If polls are anything to go by (in Germany they’re deemed reliable), Angela Merkel is heading comfortably for a fourth term in office. The economy is doing well, confidence is high, and Mrs Merkel’s main opponent, the Social Democrat Martin Schulz, has failed to land any damaging blows on her.

So the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) is steady in the polls at 37%, and the SPD (Social Democrats) can only muster 20%. Most of the suspense centres on what kind of coalition might emerge under Mrs Merkel this time. The CDU and the SPD have been in coalition since 2013; will that be renewed? Or will a different pattern emerge, perhaps one excluding the SPD but combining the CDU with the liberal, business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), 9.5% in the latest polls, and the Greens, currently at 7.5%? Few now expect the kind of political upheaval which might produce a coalition between the SPD, the Greens, and the former communists of Die Linke.

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