The German electoral campaign enters the final stretch today too close to call. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hopes of forming a centre-right coalition have dimmed, according to one opinion poll. It shows Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats falling short of her goal.
Her Social Democrat rival Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been stepping up the pressure saying everything is wide open for Sunday’s vote. In a last ditch effort to close the gap on Merkel he delivered a rousing speech to thousands of supporters at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate. Steinmeier told the crowd “We’ve caught up and can overtake”. Merkel’s aim is to form a coalition with the liberal Free Democrats led by Guido Westerwelle. The FDP is seen as a pro-business party in Germany and it could find itself playing the role of king-maker following the elections. If a deal with the liberals does not work out Merkel and Steinmeier could be faced with the prospect of forming another grand coalition of their two parties, which neither side wants. That government worked well through the financial crisis but after four years sharing power together the partnership appeared to have run out of steam as elections beckoned.