Merkel races ahead: Barring a Theresa May-style collapse in support over the coming weeks, Angela Merkel looks certain to be re-elected as chancellor next month, with polls putting her CDU party 12% to 17% ahead of the SPD at the start of the six-week campaign. The parties, which currently govern in a “grand coalition”, had been neck and neck in the polls just a few months ago. Support for the SPD had surged after it picked Martin Schulz, a combative left-winger, as its candidate for chancellor. However, the “Schulz effect” proved short-lived, and the SPD has done badly in regional elections. Merkel launched her campaign last weekend with a populist attack on German carmakers over diesel emissions test rigging.