2017 German election: A referendum on Merkel?
By CGTN's Dialogue
The general election in Germany takes place on September 24th with Angela Merkel attempting to gain a fourth term as chancellor. Only Helmut Kohl ever served longer at the top, with 16 years as leader of the country.
Most analysts have little doubt Merkel and her center-right Christian Democratic Union party will return to power. Will this be welcome stability at home, for an EU trying to deal with Brexit and in a world struggling with a sluggish economy and climate change?
Or would fresh blood at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy be just the boost that is really needed?
To discuss these issues, CGTN’s Dialogue spoke to Cui Hongjian from the China Institute of International Studies, Frank Sieren, a correspondent for German newspaper Handelsblatt, and Hans-Dieter Heumann, President of the Federal Academy for Security Policy.
Frank Sieren expressed admiration for the US and Chinese leadership systems, saying he would prefer it if “chancellors had to leave like in the US or China after two terms. In that way, you get fresh blood in the role.”
Hans-Dieter Heumann rejected the idea that the German election should be considered boring. He said it will be tedious for those that need to be entertained, but stressed there were many important issues at stake. 
“Germans like to reply on someone,” he said, recalling a previous election where the slogan of the winning party was “No experiments”. He said Merkel “is not driven by ideology and that is what people like.”
Cui Hongjian said, “it would be in the best interest of Germany to have a more pragmatic relationship with China”, with Sieren  adding that he had seen big improvements in Germany-China relations and praised how the two countries seem to find ways to discuss issues without “getting into a big fight.”
Sieren also said China is becoming far more interesting to Germany as its economy continues to grow and its industries maintain their innovative streak.
The question remains whether Germany would push for the EU to recognize China as a full market economy within the International Monetary Fund. 
Cui said in terms of intellectual property rights, “China got a lot of assistance from Germany on building up its IPR standards.”
If Merkel does get back into office for a fourth term and regardless of which party she chooses to form a coalition government with, there are still many options for China-Germany ties to produce mutually beneficial results.
Dialogue with Yang Rui is a 30-minute current affairs talk show on CGTN. It airs daily at 7.30 p.m. BJT (1130GMT), with rebroadcasts at 3.30 a.m. (1930GMT) and 11.30 a.m. (0330GMT).