“Mom, can a man even become a chancellor?” This innocent question, formulated by the 9-year-old son of a reporter from the Rheinischen Post, would describe the electoral climate 24 hours before today’s federal vote. It summarizes the effects of Angela Merkel’s “20 years” as the purely formalities of the German polls, where the outcome has already been written for months.
Fifteen points ahead of her SPD rival Martin Schulz, “Mutti” — or mommy, as Germans refer to her — faces the beginning of her fourth term unrivalled, earning her place in history.
The only unknown in today’s vote is which party will take third place: the keystone for any future coalition different from the current government. The latest polls suggest this will be the only surprise in what has otherwise been a monotonous, boring election campaign.