It is known as the “hot phase” – the final two weeks of campaigning before Germany goes to the polls on September 22.
Despite being favourite to win a third term, Chancellor Angela Merkel has put her supporters on alert warning them that the opposition Social Democrats and the Greens might break a pledge not to team up with the Left Party in a bid to take power.
Speaking at an election rally in Dusseldorf, Merkel warned of the dangers of complacency: “Every single vote counts. And if you want to make sure that there are no political experiments like red-red-green, then you must vote for the Christian Democratic party (CDU) or in Bavaria for our sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU)”, she said.
Merkel’s Social Democrat challenger Peer Steinbrueck has previously ruled out any thought of a national coalition with the Left. However there are examples of cooperation at regional level such as the state of Brandenburg which is governed by an SPD-Left alliance.
The launch of Steinbrueck’s own “hot phase” of campaigning consisted of criticising Merkel for failing to address the rich-poor gap, and of her handling of the eurozone debt crisis.