BERLIN, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Though recent polls showed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc is in a leading position, it is not inevitable that the current center-right governing coalition will continue to hold on power due to its flailing liberal partner.
With her successful stewardship of Europe's largest economy and her adherence to principles in handling the euro zone debt crisis, Merkel earned herself the nickname of "Mummy" and won her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) a high approval rate.
In a poll released by Forsa institute on Friday, the CDU/CSU union garnered 40 percent of support, 14 points ahead of its main rival Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Its pro-business partner Free Democratic Party (FDP) attained 5 percent, just to meet the threshold to enter the parliament. The SPD's preferred ally, the Greens, gained a support rate of 10 percent. The Left, another party which could enter the legislature, netted 9 percent.
In Germany, a ruling party or coalition needs a majority of seats in the parliament. The Forsa poll indicates that the election on Sunday will run neck and neck. Merkel's conservative bloc may be forced to form a "grand coalition" with the center-left SPD, should the FDP fail to get a support rate of 5 percent.
The FDP has been wiggling around the 5 percent hurdle for months. It became pressing when the party failed to win any seat in Bavarian parliament last Sunday, though the CSU captured an absolute majority of 48.3 percent.
"It is a wake-up call," said FDP leader Philipp Roesler. For the coming federal election, his party has called for supporters of CDU/CSU to give their second votes to the FDP, in order to continue the current governing coalition.
German voters could cast two votes, the first for a specific candidate to represent their constituencies, the second for a party. The second vote would determine seat shares of parties in the parliament.
The tactical proposal, however, was rejected by CDU officials. "We have no vote to give away," said Merkel in a rally this week.
Her party burnt its finger in the state election of Lower Saxony in January, when it called for its supporters to vote for the FDP. As a result, the governing CDU suffered a loss of 6.5 points of support rate and was ousted, together with the FDP, by the coalition of SPD and the Greens.
Another potential game changer in the election is the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which was just founded early this year.
The anti-euro party has earned support rate of around 4 percent.
The party says that euro has been proven to be failed and wanted countries to be allowed to leave the euro zone.
It gained more momentum after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece might need another bailout. A poll by INSA institute on Thursday even showed that it garnered 5 percent, meaning the party is likely to enter the legislature.
If that happens in Sunday's election, there would be six parties in the parliament, more seats would be taken away from the CDU/CSU union. It would be more difficult for the center-right coalition to win a majority in the parliament, then a "grand coalition" of Merkel's union and the SPD would seem inevitable, despite that Merkel insisted on Wednesday that she would continue her coalition with FDP even if it has only a one-seat majority.
Theoretically, the union could also ally with the Greens, as Merkel has taken part of the environmental protection party's platform and decided to phase out nuclear power after Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.
The option, however, seems unlikely, since the two parties are far different on various policies and the alliance has been ruled out by the Greens side.
Analysts believe that Merkel would retain her post, regardless of whether in the current center-right coalition or in a "grand coalition" with the SPD. Her main rival, SPD chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck, has a much weaker popularity among German voters.
Image of the former finance minister during Merkel's first term has been damaged by his gaffes and missteps: first over his 1.7-million-euro speeches, then his complaints that chancellor was not paid enough and Merkel's popularity was due to a "female bonus," and comments that he would not buy cheap wines, and the most recently, a rude finger gesture as response to the unkind nicknames attached to him.
According to poll results, if Steinbrueck wants to oust his former boss, his party has to link up with the Greens and the Left. In a survey by pollster Infratest dimap earlier this month, the ruling coalition fell one point short of the opposition combination.
The choice, however, has been refused by both the SPD and the Greens.