German voters head to polls as ‘Mutti’ Angela Merkel says goodbye after 16 years of rule

German voters head to polls as ‘Mutti’ Angela Merkel says goodbye after 16 years of rule

  • Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party struggles in the polls
  • The winner of the campaign so far is Olaf Scholz., leader of the Social Democratic Party
  • Merkel to remain in office until coalition is formed, which could take months










Germany goes to the polls today for a vote that will end 16 years of rule under Angela Merkel.

Despite the enduring popularity of Chancellor Merkel – known to millions of Germans as ‘Mutti’ or ‘mummy’ – her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is reeling after losing a commanding lead in recent months.

Merkel is not seeking a fifth term, having staged the first national vote in which there has been no incumbent chancellor seeking reelection since 1949.

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party falters, losing a commanding lead in recent months

In a rollercoaster campaign, polls have shown that all three largest parties — the CDU (along with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union), the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens — are leading the way.

But successive mistakes by Merkel’s CDU successor, Armin Laschet, and Greens leader Annalena Baerbock, have brought them down.

Laschet, who leads the party in populous North Rhine-Westphalia, has been criticized for mishandling the response to the devastating summer floods in his state.

The winner of the campaign so far is SDP leader Olaf Scholz, who is currently Germany’s finance minister, and his party’s ratings have risen sharply recently.

Merkel will remain in office until a coalition is formed, which could take weeks or months.

The winner of the campaign so far is SDP leader Olaf Scholz, who is currently Germany's finance minister, and his party's ratings have soared recently.

The winner of the campaign so far is SDP leader Olaf Scholz, who is currently Germany’s finance minister, and his party’s ratings have soared recently.

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