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The Merkel factor: how the Chancellor’s legacy is impacting the German election campaigns

The CDU and SPD are fighting their campaigns in the shadow of Merkel's monumental 16 years in office.

In the latest episode of our special series on the German election, Jeremy Cliffe in Berlin is joined by Michaela Kuefner, chief political editor at Deutsche Welle and host of the podcast Merkel’s Last Dance, and Dr Alex Clarkson of King’s College, London. They discuss Angela Merkel’s legacy, how the “Merkel factor” has shaped the election and why Armin Laschet’s Christian Democrats are struggling to win voters over with their campaign.

Jeremy also speaks to the New Statesman‘s election data expert, Ben Walker, for an update on the latest polls.

Angela Merkel looks on as Armin Laschet, chancellor candidate of the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), speaks at the final session of the Bundestag before federal parliamentary elections take place on 26 September, 2021.
Angela Merkel looks on as Armin Laschet, chancellor candidate of the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), speaks at the final session of the Bundestag before federal parliamentary elections take place on 26 September, 2021. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Further reading

Jeremy Cliffe’s essay, The Fateful Chancellor, explores what the end of the Merkel era means for the world. In a separate piece, he explains how Olaf Scholz and the SPD could lead Germany’s next government.

Dr Alex Clarkson proposes that, paradoxically, Angela Merkel’s strengths have weakened Germany.

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