The one and only television debate between the leading candidates for the German chancellorship takes place this evening, with challenger Frank Walter Steinmeir in need of something of a political miracle if he’s to turn the tide his way.
Chanceller Angelar Merkel’s Christian Democrats are comfortably ahead in opinion polls with just two weeks to go to polling day. Challenger Steinmeir has been criticised for leading a lacklustre campaign for the Social democrats. Steinmeir has served as foreign minister in Merkel’s grand coalition government and that hasn’t helped him create a clear case for change. The 90 minute debate will be shown on prime time television,. “There are two more weeks left until the elections and if the debate provides ‘oxygen’ for the election campaign, it will be worth it,” said presenter Frank Plasberg. Opinion polls suggest that many minds are already made up though, with only one fith of voters saying the debate will influence them. “We might learn something but I don’t expect much, because the politicians today, they all lie.” “It’s interesting to hear their opinions, but it does not influence me.” Analysts say it will be difficult to score points against Merkel who has become a seasoned media performer.