According to a survey by polling institute Forsa, published just 100 days before general elections on September 22, “more and more Germans no longer vote, even if they are interested in politics” — a worrying development that amounts to “a danger for democracy,” points out the newspaper.

Abstention, which has steadily increased over the decades — passing from 10-15 per cent between 1950 and 1980, to 20-23 per cent between 1990 and 2005, and then climbing to 28.2 per cent in the most recent general elections in 2009 — is ”the expression a sentiment of powerlessness and alienation” with regard to politics, remarks Handelsblatt. The newspaper adds that Angela Merkel’s Christian democrats have benefited significantly from this trend.

In 2009, the Chancellor succeeded in winning the election with just 23.6 per cent of votes, thanks to the 28.2 per cent who did not cast their ballots for her adversary of the time, social-democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier.