GERMANS ALL AFLUTTER AS POLL RACE TIGHTENS
The candidates running neck-and-neck to replace Angela Merkel as German chancellor called for a stronger European Union in a final TV debate that did little to shake up a race expected to end in lengthy coalition talks.
With days to go before the general election on Sunday that will see Mrs Merkel step aside after 16 years in power, her conservative CDU-CSU alliance is playing catch-up with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in the polls, narrowing the gap to only 2 per cent.
As she takes her foot off the accelerator and prepares to hand over power – with the chancellor visiting a bird park in the country’s north on Thursday – the two main contenders for her job were taking part in a televised debate.
Finance Minister and ViceChancellor Olaf Scholz, from the SPD, and Armin Laschet, from Mrs Merkel’s conservative bloc, each called for a strong, sovereign Europe.
“We need more Europe, we need to speak with one voice,” said Mr Laschet. Mr Scholz said the EU needed to stick together to stay relevant on the global stage.