Angela Merkel will run for a fourth term as Chancellor of Germany. Her announcement is the opening salvo in the run up to Germany's parliamentary election at the end of 2017 - and it puts the Social Democrats and other parties under pressure.
A combined low of 41 percent has emerged in a survey for Chancellor Angela Merkel's government. Her conservatives and coalition Social Democrats polled 26 and 15 percent respectively. Up to second place are the Greens.
Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners, the SPD, are in an even bleaker mood in Bavaria than her own conservative party. The coalition government's internal feuding in Berlin has clearly damaged the Social Democrats.
Much is at stake for Angela Merkel in Bavaria's state election. A poor result for her conservative allies could lead to more government instability. But the election also signals bigger changes in German politics.
In a further erosion of Germany's political mainstream, the Bavarian conservative party, the CSU, has lost its absolute majority. Meanwhile the Greens have become the second-largest political force in southern Germany.
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