German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been called calculating and warm, a pragmatist and an idealist.

She is full of contradictions, but one thing is for certain - she has made a mark on Germany and the rest of Europe.

The chancellor currently has a strong lead in opinion polls, and if re-elected on September 24 it will be her fourth term. 

But if one thing has been learned over the past year, anything can happen in elections.

Germany's veteran leader faced her main opponent Martin Schulz in a television debate last week. He leads the Social Democratic Party which is expected to win second place in parliament.

There is a close race for third, between the far-right and far-left parties. As Merkel said a month ago, that means there are "no natural coalitions".

So, will voters forgive Merkel for some of her controversial policies? And how has her long-running leadership changed Germany and the European Union?

Presenter: Jane Dutton

Guests:

Joerg Forbrig - Senior fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Nina Schick - European political analyst at Hanbury Strategy

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian - Assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine

Source: Al Jazeera News