A quick guide to understanding the German election

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The same ARD-Deutschlandtrend poll showed Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) at 37%. Martin Schulz's party, the SDP, is polling at about 23%.

Right-wing parties have featured prominently in elections across Europe this year.

In view of increasing polarization within some European societies, the results of the German election could have significant implications not just for member nations of the European Union, but also for other countries, including Canada, and particularly the US under Trump, whose erratic and divisive polices are increasingly undermining national unity. There are 299 electoral districts, so there are 299 seats in the Bundestag, the German Parliament, allocated to a straight first-past-the-post victor from the first vote. It is the world's leading industrial nation in a number of sectors, including automotive, life sciences, agri-tech, software and engineering services. At a time when many in Europe are divided over questions of immigration and economic integration on the continent, the status quo in Germany is nearly guaranteed to prevail. Moreover, it would not escape voters' attention that unlike most of the rest of the developed world Germany is running a near record budget surplus.

Germany can be said to be doing quite well, economically and politically. The politically unstable environment of the "west" has provided an opportune movement for Berlin to look towards its long-standing Asian friend - India. In April, the party's deputy chief and a member of the European Parliament, Beatrix von Storch, already called Islam "a political ideology that is not compatible with the basic law".

He demanded, however, that all German mosques and Muslim communities register with the German authorities and reveal their sources of income to prevent the situation in which mosques are run by organizations "threatening the German constitutional order" and are funded by foreign powers seeking to exert its influence on Germany or terrorist organizations such as Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL). Indeed, she was one of the first European leaders to pinpoint Ireland's situation as a priority for the first phase of negotiations with the UK.

Even so, some Greek observers worry a new coalition, potentially including liberals who oppose a European Monetary Fund to make emergency loans and who have suggested it might be best for Greece to leave the eurozone, could throw up fresh concerns for Athens. The continuity of Mrs Merkel as Chancellor, assuming her party emerges victorious, would only stand to underscore this position.

Julia Zimmerman, a retired teacher from Potsdam, says she is not paying too much attention to the polls.

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The business-savvy Free Democrats (FDP) and the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) both collected 9% of the voting public's support, and the environmentally conscious Greens Party came in at 8%, meaning that only a grand coalition between the CDU and rival SPD could command a stable majority, unless Merkel was willing to try out the previously untested "Jamaica" alliance that would see the FDP and the Greens join with the CDU.

Lower taxes for employees; full employment by 2025; more money for families; state support for companies; more police; more defense spending; more North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and more European Union.

"As much as Brexit plays a role in UK, Merkel never talks about Brexit".

"We will take Merkel over Trump, Putin or Erdogan".

However, before the European Union can become a more robust and effective security and defence power, it has to deal with a host of internal issues.

At the same news conference in Berlin, Gauland's co-leader, Alice Weidel, presented a broad range of proposals she said would make Germany safer, including the reintroduction of conscription to enhance border security, imprisoning foreigners who commit crimes in facilities in other countries, and making it tougher to get citizenship and easier to lose it. The FDP failed to clear that hurdle in 2013 in a humiliating defeat for a party that enjoyed 64 straight years in the Bundestag and was part of 17 government cabinets. This was the arrangement from 2009-2013.

A coalition government headed by Angela Merkel and involving the FDP is thought to be likely after the September 24 poll. This arrangement would likely be led by Martin Schulz.

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