You're listening to a podcast from the today programme on B.B.C. radio four Angela Merkel is asking, Germany, this weekend to give her a fourth term as Chancellor, and she now looks almost certain to get it, and Sunday's election so certain.
In fact, the fear is that not enough voters will bother to go to the polls on the surface, Europe's largest economy looks prosperous and less divided the most of its neighbours, but beneath the surface.
Many Germans are especially young people born after the end of the cold war and nervous about the future, our special correspondent Jim knocked is in Berlin.
For us this morning all over Berlin in the shadows of a twenty first century city scape, the history of the last century, is laid bare.
Visitors still search for some traces of the Fuhrer bunker, a few steps from the Brandenburg gate here, where I'm looking over towards the Boulevard of unter den Linden into East Berlin, which for a generation lay on the other side of the wall for Germans beyond Middle age, the memories are sharp and for the young, it's the stuff of school books, the millennia old or looking forward.
My name is Max, and I am twenty assault, I'm gonna Chancellor of my generation, and I'm really proud, she's a strong leader in a country, and it's remarkable how many of them are going to vote for Angela Merkel Centre right C.D.U. and somebody he and his fellow students can't remember another Chancellor, they look at the coming economic and social challenges in a chaotic world and talk about progress and stability in the same breath.
A lot of people who I know my age, they don't know anything but Manco in government, they were too young to understand politics before maggot voting against her for someone new is quite unrealistic Antonia a first time voter at eighteen, he's probably gonna vote, green, hoping that they might be part of a coalition, but she has no doubt, but she wants the incumbent, as Chancellor, I really don't like Surete, I also think that with Tramp.
It's safer and away to have someone who knows the system and knows the country and who we know can deal with trump us, you've been undermined Zambia, Puddy undermines that's one fact that is a terrible cuts.
Why Martin shoots of the central f. e. s. p. d. has found this campaign.
So difficult his party's been in the so called, Grand coalition with Angela Merkel another's since twenty thirteen, and it's been very hard for him to carve out his own territory.
Here's an extraordinary fact from the poster Peter mma to check when we look at the first time voters also Viv aged under thirty, they're voting behaviour is quite similar to that of the whole electorate.
So we do not really see much variation and would us very striking is That, especially among the young borders, aged eighteen to twenty one backing of angular us even stronger then among the whole electorate in how many other countries in Europe.
Could you see youth unemployment.
Here is the lowest on the continent, and that certainly helps, but there is something else.
The politics of the street with the rise of the far right here, that's a piggy the movement demonstration in Dresden, the alternative for Deutschland will win federal seats for the first time on Sunday, if you speak of the German spirit of nationalism, using language that was for Bolton for decades and which the young, don't want to hear.
That's a past, they've heard about, and they want to forget Peter my two checkpoints.
That being conventional is as much about rejecting the far right as about supporting mother Merkel sixty three Chancellor for twelve years, who has plenty enemies as well as devotees, although the criticism is often couched in a leftist critics definite will risk with his band prototype.
We've got a song, and it's called, dank America, and it's about the populism in Germany, which just giving Merc or ever blame for what happens refugees come to Germany thinking America and their Internet site, which makes jokes about it and try to shove the thank you mark it down with some jokes, so it's like, Oh, I broke my leg.
Thank you, my friend stuff like this, and we wrote a song about it.
Just try To make her live at fun of this back at the Nelson Mandela international school, they're hoping for different kinds of coalitions that many green voters here among the young.
That was one overwhelming choice for leader, both done really convince me through much, but I guess if I had a truce.
I would also go for Marco come out claimants runs the youth wing of the Merkel C.D.U. party, he argues that young Germans of this generation, a different, there's couldn't a change in attitudes of young people in Germany, in the society, we see a growing number of people talking more about values, in a way, it's become called be conservative in our centre and away in Germany, in the other, the more pragmatic.
Take your life into your own hands.
In other words, many Germans are seeing themselves in these last hours before voting at the still point in a turning world where for their parents and grandparents.
It was so often the other way around.
The f. d. on the right, as Professor general Noriega Burger of the free University here, explains have come together and started to rise to try to disturb that feeling.
If do you would be the first party after a party, we had from nineteen forty nine to nineteen fifty three, the Parliament, his successor party of the German Nazi party.
It's a party with people were not interested in talking about the problems that had to be solved.
They all Talk about less in common with the really province of the dumb society.
So, in this city of dark memories for many voters, the most anxious moment on Sunday, is when they will see their total vote for the A.F. de France, in the spring, after all eleven million people voted for the national front here, it will be much smaller, but if the figure were to reach, say, ten percent, it would bring a noticeable presence into the blender stag there behind me of a group that simply couldn't have used a nationalist rhetoric, a generation ago, because it was still unacceptable patriotism here has long been a difficult one Berlin feels young, it's a city that doesn't sleep, and everything's on the move, but, especially among young voters that is more optimism, maybe less feeling of being adrift of uncertainty and government that in many European capitals.
Think of love, it's inescapable that, though, the euro crisis, isn't far behind them, and the unrest over migration is real, and often toxic.
This is an election with an ingredient that many voters elsewhere, haven't known in recent times, confident the insurgents in this election, haven't yet invaded the centre ground.
Maybe the feeling of continuity will turn out to be illusory.
But for now, it's everywhere.
It's enough team reporting from Germany, ahead of the elections.
She is reassuringly straightforward, they call her Muti on mummy it her rivals and fellow European leaders often struggle to work, her out and seem always to underestimate her, it started with former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who only put her in his cabinet was a token female East European and called her clueless and eight years later, she'd replaced him.
More recently, her political future was again being written off in the furore over her refugee policy, but now she is family expected to remain Chancellor.
So what does explain her lasting appeal to voters.
And what does it tell us about Germany today rather British art historian, a Museum Director Neil McGregor has had a window onto Angela Merkel's Germany over the past two years, advising the German government on the creation of a new German equivalent to the British Museum, of which he was the Director, he is here with me now.
Do you think that's right, and in one commentator said she was the perfect embodiment of a nation that has had its fill of political thrills, I think the better word, of course, is steady, and it's a country that has had far more of its political thrills, but, as you said, she's a she.
She is called muted and that great steadiness or somebody who's not showy not chic, she lives, not in The Chancellor's Office, but in her own flat in Berlin, with her husband, she goes and rambling holidays.
Like all kinds of Germans, she knows the price of butter to the scent in a public debate on it's asked unexpectedly, she could talk about the Bavarian housewife, she's Robert drone has my she knows about the football team, she really loves football, but yours goes to buy right, so she hasn't, and I think the central thing is that she was born in Hamburg, and that her father, a Lutheran pastor moved to the East, so she's East and West Germany.
She is the whole of Germany, and she's very steady.
But the other thing you said you were looking for a comparison with British history, I think Elizabeth, the first of England, the Preston crooked think worked in a time of great political instability, we had Lily with Putin dealing with trump, I think the Germans feel very safe.
This is somebody who is absolutely able to cope with very difficult very unpredictable people and does that people their partners become more unpredictable.
The value of somebody so stable so steady grown.
This is when you think about some of the elections and referendums.
We've had of the last couple of years, and we've talked about that the populism stalking Europe, it's, it's amazing to hear young people in knocked his package earlier today talking about how they want stability, it seems there's no desire for the thrill of The new that you see in every other election campaign around the world.
It's absolutely right, and it's got a lot to do a course with the fact that, Poland, Russia, Ukraine are so near the idea of a threat from the East of the loss of human rights, again in the East is very, very present, and I think what all young Germans, but most Romans feel so strongly about.
The European Union is that it's the guarantor of the rule of law, human freedoms like nothing that's and keeping that steady and safe as Poland, Hungary, good through right wing movements and as puttin his unpredictable that stability is very, very great de valued.
I guess we should say, even though the populism is not there to the same degree as in France or the Netherlands or elsewhere, we are potentially going to get a lot of seats, going to alternative for Deutschland after Sunday's election, in a sense, the first time that a sort of native est element has been in the bond stag since since the thirties.
That is what is worrying, and many people in Germany.
That is the first time, there's a really national voice talking about the the national rights of Germany in that tone will be present, and that's again, I think where Merkel is so interesting.
You can't imagine her like Mac home talking about wanting to be like Jupiter, talking about the glory of Germany, the great listen, I think That the great thing that determines Merkel is she's so conscious of the history of that kind of language and her response to this right wing populist native est threat is ever more steady ever more modest ever more in the Middle and he calls a belief in Europe and in people who are wanting somehow to put Britain had her sort of liking for Britain ahead of the future of Europe, are going to be disappointed.
Will she has very resident MyraBritain great friend of Britain's, but I think, like many turnovers politicians, she is puzzled by the fact that the British c. e. you only as an economic and her, and not as the great guarantor of the freedoms since nineteen ninety since the fall of the wall, the role of the E.U., I think she would argue has changed completely, and that's why it matters.
Now, in a different way.
Very briefly at than with people do look at a lot of us a lot of undecided sort coming up in these in these poles.
Do you worry that there may be a bit more extremist thinking and voting, then we expect, I think there's always a danger because people don't want to say to opinion polls that the going to put in that way.
Yes, you McGregor, thank you very much.
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