Germany looks set to hold its federal election on Sunday 24 September, with Chancellor Angela Merkel seeking a fourth term in office and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party expected to enter the national parliament for the first time.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter that the cabinet had suggested that date to the president, who has the final decision but tends to agree with the government's proposal.
Merkel faces a tougher re-election campaign than previously. Merkel's decision last September to let in people fleeing war has become her Achilles' heel, as public resentment mounted after more than a million asylum seekers arrived in Europe's biggest economy since the start of 2015.
Concerns about integration and security have pushed her popularity down and fueled the rise of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is expected to win enough votes to clear the 5 percent threshold to enter the federal parliament.
A poll by Forsa for German magazine Stern published yesterday put Merkel's conservative bloc - her Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union, their Bavarian sister party - on 38 percent, up one point.
The Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in the ruling coalition, also edged up by one point to 21 percent while the AfD shed one point, falling to 11 percent.
A poll published earlier this month showed refugee policy will be the biggest issue for voters in the election.
Merkel has suffered from low popularity, cutting a lonely figure in her struggle for resisting pressure to change her open-door refugee policy after being relegated to third place behind an anti-immigration AfD party in the regional election in her constituency in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and then in Berlin.
In September 2016, Merkel's popularity reached a five-year low. Less than 45 percent of German people were satisfied with her performance, according to the "Germany trend" survey conducted by pollsters Infratest dimap. It was the lowest number recorded since 2011.
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