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Merkel focused on Hesse election

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Merkel focused on Hesse election


Campaigning is drawing to an end in the regional election for the German region of Hesse. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been on the campaign trail on behalf of state premier Roland Koch. Opinion polls predict victory on Sunday for Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, the CDU.

The economic crisis is the main campaign issue: Hesse’s capital is Wiesbaden but the most important city is Frankfurt, Germany’s financial centre; the struggling car-maker Opel is also based in the state. A CDU win would help it build momentum in the run-up to Germany’s national election in September. Merkel’s party will probably have to share power in Hesse with the Free Democrats, the FDP, which is a likely future coalition partner for the federal government. Currently the CDU is in an uneasy power-sharing alliance with the Social Democrats, the SPD. In Hesse, the SPD is trailing in the opinion polls. It has been riven with splits over whether it should enter into a power-sharing agreement there with Die Linke, the resurgent left-wing party. This is a big year for German voters. They will go to the polls 16 times in five state elections, as well as for the German presidency, the chancellorship and the European parliament.
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