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    German flags wave in front of the Reichstag building, host of the German Federal Parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany. (File)

    Are There 'No Chances for a Real Fight?' Experts Scrutinize German Election

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    Just as preparations for the German Bundestag election are heating up, German experts interviewed by Sputnik assess the outcome of the Merkel-Schulz duel and the general nature of the vote.

    'Trust and Stability'

    As most of his colleagues, Josef Janning, the head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, believes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU alliance are set to win the upcoming race that is set to take place on September 24.

    According to him, Merkel's party offered voters "trust and stability," while statements from her rival, Social Democrat Martin Schulz, about social justice turned out to be "less appealing."

     European Parliament President Martin Schulz, left, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels (File)
    © AP Photo/ Yves Logghe
    European Parliament President Martin Schulz, left, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels (File)

    Angela Merkel: Best of a Bad Lot

    Although Merkel has been repeatedly criticized for her migration policy, she still remains the best candidate for the chancellorship, German political expert and diplomat Ernst-Jorg von Studnitz argued.

    During Merkel's chancellorship over the last 12 years, the situation within the country has remained stable compared to other EU countries where economic problems and unemployment have become more evident.

    "Merkel has been subject to criticism many times, and often it was justified, but while electing someone, people always have to choose not the best candidate, but rather the best of a bad lot," the expert noted.

    German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democrats, CDU, Angela Merkel, points with her fingers during a visit to the convention venue prior to the 27. party convention in Cologne, Germany, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
    © AP Photo/ Martin Meissner
    German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democrats, CDU, Angela Merkel, points with her fingers during a visit to the convention venue prior to the 27. party convention in Cologne, Germany, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.

    Winner is Known in Advance

    The election campaign is neither interesting nor meaningful, since the winner is known in advance, a senior lecturer at the University of Göttingen, Peter W. Schulze, told Sputnik.

    "Merkel's opponent has been unable to challenge the government and recover after the defeats at the beginning of the year," the analyst noted.

    In Schulze's opinion, Martin Schultz had few chances to take the upper hand over Merkel from the very beginning.

    "There were almost no chances for a real fight," the expert said.

    According to the analyst, the fact that Schulz does not belong to the German establishment first gave him an advantage because people in Germany are striving for change.

    However, Schulz failed to "fulfil these expectations and apply them to issues that concern the population" including the refugee crisis, the Ukrainian conflict or German-Russian relations, the expert noted.

    Martin Schulz, top candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for the upcoming federal election, gives a speech during an election rally in Hamburg, Germany, August 31, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Morris Mac Matzen
    Martin Schulz, top candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for the upcoming federal election, gives a speech during an election rally in Hamburg, Germany, August 31, 2017

    Who's Going to Rank Third?

    The most apparent problem of the SPD election campaign is "the absence of a global topic that could polarize society," German political scientist Oskar Niedermayer told Sputnik.

    At the same time, these shortcomings in the political agenda of the Social Democrats have led to a more active struggle between smaller parties — liberals from the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the Greens, members of the Left Party, as well as populists from Alternative for Germany, the expert stated, adding that the central question of the upcoming election campaign is about which party would win third place.

    Protest Voting

    In his turn, political analyst Alexander Rahr noted that Alternative for Germany might show good results in the ongoing race, mainly because it attracts a lot of protest voters dissatisfied with the political status quo of centrist parties.

    "I can even imagine that in the east of the country, in the former GDR, AfD would rank second, an outcome that will be viewed by many as a catastrophe," Rahr said.

    According to the analyst, the main topic people are interested in is not social justice, but refugees and internal security.

    "In this regard, AfD makes sharp statements that many other parties that fear to break up with the mainstream can't afford," the expert concluded.

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    outcome, parliamentary elections, Bundestag, Angela Merkel, Martin Schulz, Germany
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