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Die Tageszeitung, Sept. 19

Another election, another humbling defeat for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In a Berlin state vote, Merkel's CDU party polled 17.6% — its lowest showing since 1990, figures from public broadcaster ARD showed on Monday. It's the second poll drubbing as CDU got crushed just two weeks before in an eastern German state election.

The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), or the Alternative for Germany, a far-right upstart, snatched 14.2% of the vote in Berlin, riding a backlash against Merkel's open-door policy for refugees. Although Merkel's conservatives came in second place, its lower numbers mean the end of their "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats SPD, which topped the election with 21.6% of the vote. SPD's celebrations would be muted, however, as it's down almost 7 percentage points from the last election.

Left-leaning Die Tageszeitung newspaper sees CDU's descent as an opportunity for a different sort of "alternative for Germany," namely a grand coalition of the left, rather than the right-wing alternative AfD proposes. As an editorial in today's newspaper explains, the center-left SPD and Green party are often reluctant to work with far-left Die Linke party. They've previously preferred to team up with center-right CDU, a move the paper describes as "political nonsense."

But with both Greens and Die Linke each taking a respectable chunk of the vote — each polled about 15% — a new kind of coalition is possible, the Die Tageszeitung notes. "We could almost thank the AfD for that," the paper says, arguing that a grand coalition of the left would show that a "real alternative" in Germany is possible with general elections just a year away.

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Geopolitics

Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

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The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

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