Angela Merkel’s CDU faces tough electoral prospects in her 2017 re-election bid

German MPs slam Merkel’s refugee policy ahead of re-election bid from RT

In the wake of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s referendum defeat and the waning prospects for France’s Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to address the Christian Democrats in the German city of Essen in an effort to rally her party ahead of her potential election to a fourth term.

The Chancellor expects the 2017 elections to be tougher than any other, and must unite her base as well as boost her popularity which has taken a hit in the wake of refugee-related scandals. Merkel’s CDU has lost support that the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has capitalized upon – an anti-immigrant movement that has used the 2015 influx of Syrian refugees to further its political cause in Germany. The city of Essen is emblematic of many of the challenges facing European economies, with high unemployment in a formerly industrial area. Germany faces renewed challenges from Putin’s Russia as well as threats to the European Union from weak economies in Southern Europe. Though Angela Merkel is currently polling well, her party would need to form a coalition government, a prospect complicated if the far-right Alternative for Germany expands its base in the legislature. Critics warn the results of a local election in German earlier this year bear warning signs for Merkel and her party, signs she would be wise to heed.

[The Guardian]