The Burdens of Germany’s Next Chancellor

What’s at Stake in the Election

Martin Schulz with Angela Merkel at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, March 14, 2013. Yves Herman / Reuters

There’s been no shortage of hand-wringing over national elections in the past year. In the last ten months alone, we’ve seen high-stakes electoral contests between populist candidates in the United States, Austria, the Netherlands, and France, as well as a tight race in Ghana, a controversial one in Kenya, and an election that followed an impeachment scandal in South Korea. And with another round of elections coming up in Austria after the coalition government collapsed, the near-term election drama is far from over.

One of the most important elections of 2017, however, has attracted comparatively little attention. On September 24, Germans will head to the polls to elect a new parliament, whose members will, in turn, form a governing coalition and select Germany’s next chancellor. Although this vote will determine who will chart the course of Europe’s largest economy and serve as the key negotiator in the looming

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