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As Merkel era ends, German politics in flux

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By Andrew Hammond

With Angela Merkel in her final weeks of power, the German post-war political landscape was in a wider, historic ferment last week, with the Green Party sensationally topping national polls.

In the weekly Kantar survey, the Greens polled 28 percent, up 6 percentage points. This fact means that, for the first time in the nation's history, the Green Party is more popular than Merkel's right-of-center Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) bloc, and also the left-of-center Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The reason this fact is so significant for Germany is that the SPD and CDU/CSU have stood as the twin pillars of German politics since the end of the World War II, in a longstanding duopoly of power. But with the CDU/CSU's bearings uncertain in the post-Merkel era, and the SPD not polling strongly either, Germany may now fast be moving from a de facto two-party to a multiparty system, with smaller parties that once functioned as subsidiaries of either the SPD or the CDU/CSU now sometimes eclipsing them.

Last week's Kantar poll put the CDU-CSU at 27 percent, the SPD at 13 percent, the socialist Left Party (Die Linke) at 7 percent, the far-right, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) at 10 percent, and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) at 9 percent.

Part of the reason that the two main parties are languishing is their choice of candidates for chancellor: the CDU/CSU has chosen Armin........

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