German political commentators are divided today over who came out better in the televised debate between the country’s two big political figures.
With the election just two weeks away, the head-to-head drew more than 14 million viewers, but the generally-amicable contest between CDU Chancellor Angela Merkel and SPD leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier failed to alter many opinions. “Steinmeier was better than Merkel but it was easier for him,” said Wulf Schmiese, from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “He was the underdog and not expected to be so strong.” But Merkel’s supporters were also happy. “For me, Merkel has always been the more convincing politician, the one with more integrity,” said actor Charles Huber. “She has also had to handle difficult issues like the regulation of the financial markets.” The debate was the only one in this campaign, the Chancellor turning down the chance to take on her rival a second time.