Germany’s governing centre-right coalition is looking to reverse a series of 12 poor state election results which has seen them lose power in four of them to the SPD and Greens.
On Sunday Lower Saxony is up for grabs, and the CDU is being led into battle by a Scot, David McAllister, the incumbent, who like his chancellor Angela Merkel is proving more popular than his CDU party.
The race is predicted to be tight between him and the SPD’s Stephan Weil, although his chances have been hurt by his leader.
The SPD’s Peer Steinbrueck has made a series of gaffes since being chosen to lead. If the SPD should fail to win here, he may get much of the blame. A loss might even spur the SPD to replace him before September’s General Election.
McAllister has had high-powered help, with Merkel visiting him seven times during his campaign to add her lustre to his push. But both will be hoping the vote for their coalition partners the FDP holds up. If it collapses, then the CDU can say goodbye to retaining power in September.
Former German first lady Doris Schröder is bidding to enter the regional assembly. If she makes it from her lowly position on the list, the the FDP is history in Lower Saxony.