Candidates face off in last pre-election televised debate in Germany | WGN 720 radio

Berlin (AP) – Three candidates hoping to succeed Angela Merkel as German Chancellor and four leaders of other parties currently in parliament had their last televised debate ahead of Sunday’s elections. Clashed Thursday on various topics.

Unlike previous discussions which repeatedly focused on climate change, poverty and other national topics, the candidate also discussed foreign policy issues for the first time.

Olaf Scholz, the left-wing Social Democratic Party, who is now Germany’s finance minister, said closer cooperation within Europe is needed, but at the same time the EU must continue to work in close collaboration with the United States and NATO. ..

“We are a big country in the middle of the European Union with the largest population and the greatest economic power,” Scholz said. “Therefore, we need to ensure that Europe speaks with a more united voice. “

Its closest rival, the center-right coalition bloc Armin Laschet, also called for a stronger and more united Europe, adding that the continent should cooperate with a joint arms project.

“We need more Europe, we have to speak with one voice,” said Rachelte. “We have to start the project together, and we have to arm the project to be able to act together. “

Greens candidate Annalena Baerbock said Europe needs to find a common approach on how to interact with China.

“I want to make sure that one (EU) country does not play against the other (EU) country, creating a unified European approach to China,” she said.

Candidates and leaders were also faced with how to address housing shortages in major German cities, tackle hatred on social media and tackle the radicalization of protests against pandemic restrictions.

Merkel’s coalition bloc and her candidate for prime minister, Rachette, have made a small profit in recent weeks of polls. But it remains slightly behind Scholz’s center-left Social Democratic Party.

The Greens, who are the first to defend a candidate for prime minister, are in third place, but can play the role of Kingmaker when it comes to forming a government.

The number of parties with close competition and strong support means that the next government will be determined by post-election coalition negotiations between at least two and more likely three parties.

Merkel, prime minister since 2005, has not sought a fifth four-year term.

Just over 60 million Germans elect a new parliament. The party with the most seats tries to establish a coalition government and lets its members elect the prime minister.

Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the German elections at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election

Candidates face off in last pre-election televised debate in Germany | WGN 720 radio

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