(COMBO) This combination created on September 1, 2017 of file pictures shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party (L, on August 29, 2017 in Berlin) and Martin Schulz, leader of Germany's social democratic SPD party and candidate for Chancellor (June 27, 2017 in Berlin).
Angela Merkel, Germany's cool and collected chancellor, will go head-to-head Sunday, September 3, 2017, with her fiery challenger Martin Schulz in their only television debate before this month's general elections, in a crucial match that could sway millions of voters. / AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ
Angela Merkel, Germany's cool and collected chancellor, will go head-to-head Sunday, September 3, 2017, with her fiery challenger Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD )in their only teleShow more

Will Merkel's low-key, serious style win her a fourth term as chancellor of Germany?

If the polls hold true, Angela Merkel is tantalisingly close to securing a fourth term victory when Germans vote in a general election later this month.

A head-to-head televised debate with the main opposition challenger on Sunday night is already being portrayed as the last chance for Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate and her main opponent, to open up the contest.

The latest poll published on Friday gave Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union-led block 39 per cent, 17 points ahead of the SPD. The centrist Free Democrats were on 10 per cent, meaning Mrs Merkel could form a coalition with the pro-business liberals.

Mr Schulz is not throwing in the towel and has pinned his hopes on floating voters being won over by his more rambunctious personality.  “Some 46 per cent of the voters remain undecided. I think we can still turn the tide,” he declared.

Known to Germans as the "television duel,” the Sunday show is an established feature of the quadrennial election. It is expected to draw almost 30 million viewers — or around half of the electorate, according to a poll by research firm Forsa. One in five of those polled said the debate could swing their vote.

The two candidates speak separately in question and answer sessions hosted by TV news anchors. Mrs Merkel threatened to stay away after the broadcasters proposed a more adversarial format, leading to accusations that she was afraid of confrontation."If an election campaign is defined as good only when people insult each other, then that's not my idea of what an election campaign is about," she retorted.

The long-serving chancellor is seeking to defy recent political history with her anti-campaign tactics. Virtually all the campaign stops are in constituencies won by her party in 2013. The danger is that she misses connecting with the voters, a flaw that has cost other campaigners dearly.

Theresa May was dubbed the Maybot for robotic sloganeering that fell flat in the British general election in June. Hillary Clinton exuded an almost pathological dislike of campaigning up close to the voters, which cost her key states like Wisconsin in November’s presidential election.

But Mrs Merkel’s defenders in the press believe she can prosper from a low-key approach.

“For Merkel this is the starting point, the longer she reigns, the more of the experience is credited to her, which Schulz does not have  and cannot have. Merkel exudes this fact through unrestrained calm. This has nothing to do with lulling the electorate or "asymmetrical demobilisation", especially nothing with "de-politicisation". This is politics without a circus,” political commentator Jasper von Altenbockum wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Mr Schulz has warned that the chancellor is depriving the country of the opportunity to debate its future direction.

"The CDU has a concept, and that's Angela Merkel. That's supposedly enough for you all. We have a concept for the future of the next generation in this country," Mr Schulz said.

Pollsters believe there is an opportunity for Schulz to win on Sunday night. "The TV duel format, like spontaneity and eloquence, is not quite Merkel's strength," Forsa head Manfred Guellner said. "Schulz can benefit.”

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Kathmandu. Fares with Air Arabia and flydubai start at Dh1,265.
In Kathmandu, rooms at the Oasis Kathmandu Hotel start at Dh195 and Dh120 at Hotel Ganesh Himal.
Third Rock Adventures offers professionally run group and individual treks and tours using highly experienced guides throughout Nepal, Bhutan and other parts of the Himalayas.


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The biog

Name: Dhabia Khalifa AlQubaisi

Age: 23

How she spends spare time: Playing with cats at the clinic and feeding them

Inspiration: My father. He’s a hard working man who has been through a lot to provide us with everything we need

Favourite book: Attitude, emotions and the psychology of cats by Dr Nicholes Dodman

Favourit film: 101 Dalmatians - it remind me of my childhood and began my love of dogs 

Word of advice: By being patient, good things will come and by staying positive you’ll have the will to continue to love what you're doing


Borussia Dortmund 0

Bayern Munich 1 (Kimmich 43')

Man of the match: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets


Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh



Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

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