Germany’s Christian Democrats are so far ahead in the opinion polls that the only question seems to be who will govern with them after the election?
Support for Angela Merkel’s party has been just short of 40 percent since May. The Social Democrats, who briefly polled neck and neck with the conservatives earlier in the year, are down to 25 percent.
The Greens, liberal Free Democrats, far-left Die Linke and far-right Alternative für Deutschland would split the remainder of the vote.
Unless the numbers change dramatically between now and September, Merkel would have three ways to stay in power:
A continuation of her “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats;
A center-right coalition with the Free Democrats; or
A center-left coalition with the Greens.
A right-wing pact with the Alternative can be ruled out. Read more
Fear That Trump Will Fire Special Counsel in Russia Probe
President Donald Trump and his supporters are looking for ways to disparage Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is investigating Russia’s attack on America’s 2016 election.
The New York Times reports that Trump’s political aides and legal counsel are hoping to find a conflict of interest they could use to discredit Mueller’s investigation — or even build a case to fire him. Read more
Why America and Russia Are Closer to Confrontation in Syria
Russia has suspended a military hotline it maintained with the United States to avoid clashes in Syria and warned that it may shoot down any “flying objects” west of the River Euphrates.
The escalation comes after an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday that was attacking rebel ground forces supported by the United States in the vicinity of the Tabqa Dam. Read more
Spain’s Podemos party has come out in favor of a Catalan independence referendum, making it the first major national party to break with the government of Mariano Rajoy on the issue.
The anti-establishment movement remains opposed to Catalan independence and argues that a referendum should not be legally binding, but the new policy is a win for Catalonia’s separatists all the same.
It’s probably not for them that Podemos has changed their minds, though. Read more
Dutch Parties Need a Little Theater Before Forming Government