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Merkel's Next Challenge

How She Will Fare Ahead of Germany's Elections

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hamburg, Germany, July 2017.   John MacDougall / Pool / REUTERS

After a G-20 with plenty of drama but little substance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel must now face the ultimate test. She must exit the international stage and start speaking to German voters in a quest to be reelected for a fourth term. Although the G-20 was not the best showcase for the chancellor thanks to protests on the streets of Hamburg, her Christian Democrat party (CDU) has surged ahead in the polls over the last couple of months, giving Merkel a considerable lead of approximately 15 percentage points over Social Democrat party (SPD) challenger Martin Schulz. To maintain momentum, Merkel should address skepticism within her own party about domestic security and the creditworthiness of Germany’s EU partners while continuing to position herself to German voters as a bulwark against Trump.

During her 12 years in office, Merkel has deftly adopted issues from other parties to diminish their voter base. By speeding

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