Merkel’s sense of grim purpose may suit the moment. After spending four months with a seemingly unassailable lead in the polls, she suddenly finds herself in a dogfight with SchrÃ¶der.
The likelihood is still that Merkel, 51, will become chancellor after the vote Sunday. But she may have to settle for leading a “grand coalition” of her Christian Democratic Union and SchrÃ¶der’s Social Democratic Party. Her preferred coalition, with the Free Democratic Party, is falling just short of a majority in the most recent polls.
Given the aura of political invincibility that has enveloped Merkel since a weakened SchrÃ¶der called for early elections last May, that result would be seen as almost a defeat. ~The International Herald-Tribune