Done. The announcement was made in the last hour. Chancellor Merkel will run again for the CDU as Chancellor in the September 2017 election.
Chief reason? Crappy CDU choices for the Chancellor position. It's pretty difficult to avoid talking about this but that's the reality.
How this plays out:
1. Thomas de Maiziere is the head of the Interior Ministry....and will be 63 next year. He's hinted that he'll retire.
2. Wolfgang Schauble is the Finance Minister....and will be 75 next year. He says he'll absolutely retire at the conclusion of the election.
3. The CDU is desperate to bring in some fresh and four-star players (Julie Glockner of the Pfalz, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Jens Spahn). Spahn is one of the more clever guys around but young. Glockner is a charmer and very likeable but there is a question-mark over what ministry to give her if the CDU wins (she's just not foreign minister material or a budget queen).
4. There's been a fair amount of talk that the CDU really desires to team up with the Greens and FDP instead of the SPD again. One issue with the Greens is that there are two factions pulling on the Greens.....one wants a very leftist platform, and it'd be impossible to reach some partnership if this wing of the Greens wins out. The FDP? Their problem would be just in getting five-percent of the national vote.....which I would have doubt of their ability.
5. From the 16.2 million votes in 2013 (just for them)....I think you can count on a quarter of those being unhappy and looking elsewhere (AfD or FDP). For Merkel to win, she'd have to hope on a quarter of SPD voters to also be disenchanted and unhappy.
6. This team of the CDU and CSU? Merkel desperately needs those 3.5-million-plus votes from Bavaria and the partnership of the CSU. Without that partnership, there's no way to win, and no way to forge a partnership with the Greens/FDP.
Basically, you can throw away the script for the past four elections, and the traditional topics that the news media would chat about. This will be a very different election, with the public sour about immigration, integration, and lack of leadership from Berlin. It doesn't matter if you talk to SPD, CDU voters.....they all have some anger over the way that things have gone for the past four years.
The hype from the news media? Populism, fake news, right-wing agenda, Trump, Putin, the terrible situation in France and Austria (having gone right), the referendum in Italy failing (likely now), the BREXIT deal, and if Edrogan will continue his games. Social media may overtake the value of the news media from the past and create a whole new dynamic.
If you thought that the US election was pretty weird by the end.....prepare for the German version.