Walking towards the podium, German leader Angela Merkel is taking strides to fend off a challenge from the political left in local elections in the eastern state of Thuringia.
In Germany’s former communist east, the Chancellor’s junior partners in national government, the centre-left Social Democrats are flirting with a new coalition with left-wing parties.
Her response to such a changing front was meted out in an uncharacteristically blunt address:
“In Thüringen there is something very strange happening, here in Thüringen there is a big party, the SPD who lets tells us that no matter how big we will be after the elections, they will join the left because they think that this is better for us that is incredible.”
Merkel went on to warn the Green party against any union with the Social Democrats. But both Merkel and the left also face another threat with voting here on Sunday, with eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany hoping to strike a chord with the electorate.