Few doubt the chancellor’s ‘flatpack’ formula will win her another election, but can it meet the challenges of the next four years?

Throughout her 12 years in power, Angela Merkel’s political obituarists have ever been eager to spot the wobbly legs or worn-out hinges that could signal an imminent collapse – be it over her handling of Germany’s nuclear phase-out, the Greek bailout programme or her handling of the 2015 refugee crisis.

But as Germany goes to the polls this Sunday, what one former campaign leader describes as the chancellor’s “Ikea principle” of pragmatic flatpack centrism is all but certain to hold firm for a fourth election in a row. In latest polls on Friday Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) retained a comfortable double-digit lead over her nearest challengers, in spite of a late surge for the third-placed far-right.

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