German election: Angela Merkel hits campaign trail with Armin Laschet

Germany’s longtime chancellor Angela Merkel has tried to stay out of the battle to replace her. But with her party struggling and the election days away, she’s putting her star power to work to boost her would-be heir’s fortunes. Merkel has tried to keep a low profile in the campaign to replace her. Earlier this year, she told the political talk show “Anne Will” that the Union bloc, comprised of her CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU, has “no claim to the chancellery” but would “offer the best ideas in the campaign.” That, polls consistently suggest, has not come to pass. The Union, which has ruled the German republic for five of its seven decades and is used to walking away with dominant pluralities of the vote, may suffer its worst-ever result on Sunday. In a highly fragmented field, the CDU/CSU is now polling second — behind its current junior coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).