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One hundred days to go
Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) looked set to capture the largest vote share in the closely watched federal election, according to a poll released 100 days before voters cast their ballots. A survey released by Infratest dimap showed the CDU capturing 39 per cent of the vote, while the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) - currently the junior partner in Merkel's coalition - was shown winning 24 per cent of the vote.
The SPD suffered a stunning defeat in its traditional stronghold of North Rhine Westphalia last month, raising questions about the leadership of Martin Schulz, whose arrival as party leader earlier this year gave the party an electoral boost that quickly fizzled out.
Experts blame the the SPD's drubbing at the polls on its social justice-oriented campaign platform at a time when the German economy is firing on all cylinders and voters are more concerned with national security and the integration of refugees.
The Infratest dimap poll shows the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) winning 8 per cent of the vote, meaning it would be able to enter the Bundestag for the first time. The business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) - the CDU's traditional coalition party - was shown with 9 per cent of the vote after flunking out of parliament altogether in the 2013 election.