On September 24, German voters will choose a new parliament. The present government is a coalition between the country's two largest political bodies, Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) alliance and Martin Schulz's Social Democrats (SPD). It seems all but certain that these parties will maintain their comfortable lead over their far smaller competitors in the Bundestag, the Left (Linke) and Green (Grüne), and that Merkel, who has been in office for twelve years, will be returned to office yet again.

The one real wild card is the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). In the last parliamentary election, which took place shortly after the AfD was founded in 2013, it received only 4.7% of the vote. It now enjoys about twice that much public support, with the latest polls putting it at 10% and 11% – a big enough share of the electorate to win seventy out of 630 seats in the Bundestag, and maybe even jump past the Left and the Greens.

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