BERLIN -- Just days ahead of Sunday's general election that will decide the next German chancellor, there is a noticeable lack of interest among the public, the media, and even the candidates themselves,. The widespread indifference comes at a time when Germany nevertheless faces a number of difficult issues, including an unpopular war in Afghanistan and the country's tenuous economic recovery.
Christian Democrat (CDU) Angela Merkel, the sitting chancellor, has essentially chosen not to campaign. She has made few public statements other than that she would prefer to form a coalition with the more conservative Free Democrats over the liberal Social Democrats, and participated in only one debate. This has forced her opponent, Social Democrat (SPD) Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to essentially run a campaign without an opponent.
Over the summer, the German media was clamoring for a fight between the two candidates, but that conflict failed to materialize. After the forgettable debate between the two, reporters wrote the whole campaign off as boring. Many now seem eager for Merkel, who leads in the polls, to be declared the winner so that the German government can move on to more interesting things.