German elections

The uninspiring choice facing German voters

The gloves are off in Germany’s electoral race. As personal insults are traded and skeletons dragged from their closets, even the German president — a figurehead who normally stays above politics — has urged all parties not to let the campaign descend into ‘mud-slinging’. In a rare political intervention, Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that ‘measure and reason’ were preconditions of a functioning democracy. What had happened to cause the head of state such concern? The German Green party has long complained that their leader Annalena Baerbock is being subjected to a sexist smear campaign. Her party’s inexperienced spin doctors suddenly had a wave of allegations to deal with — from inaccuracies