German elections may still be days away but voters wanting to keep their Sunday free have already been casting their ballots.
Postal voting started weeks ago for those whose minds are already made up and after a lacklustre campaign, few people are betting on any last minute deal-breakers. On the surface the outcome is predictable while in the detail it is far from decided. The next chancellor will almost certainly be the current one. Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party has a double digit lead over its nearest rival. Her discreet style and tendency to seek out consensus has won praise from the world’s most prominent leaders. Some observers however do believe that her non-committal, low-key approach could cost her some votes. Political analyst Nils Diederich for example says that what some people have blamed her for during this election campaign, because it is not clear which positions she stands for. After the last election Merkel was forced into a grand coalition with Frank Walter Steinmeier’s centre-left SPD. The same result is perhaps the best Steinmeier can hope for this time. However, if the SPD loses enough ground, and polls suggest it might, Merkel will be able to form a coalition with her preferred partners, the centre-right Free Democrats. If that happens, Germans can expect a more tax-cutting and business-friendly government.