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COMING UP:Share Opener Variant 4



>> The one year anniversary of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open German borders to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war in the Middle East has brought new criticism of her stance and a furious debate about her political future. I'm Noah Barkin, special correspondent for Reuters in Berlin.
Little over a year ago, Merkel was riding high in the polls, but her refugee policies have led to a sharp drop in her own popularity and a surge for the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, a new anti-immigrant party. The AfD is expected to do especially well in an election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on Sunday.
That's the East German state where Merkel has her own electorial district. One poll this week showed that the AfD could do even better than Merkel's own CDU in that state. That would be a first and would increase pressure on the Chancellor, even further. Despite that, Merkel is still expected to run for a fourth term.
Her advisors, who I've spoken to say that she still sees her two biggest challengers, the refugee crisis and holding Europe together after the Brexit vote in Britain, as unresolved. One aid said that it would amount to negligence if she didn't run. I was up in the eastern town of Greifswald earlier this week, talking to voters.
Many said that although they had problems with some of her decisions a year ago, they admired Merkel for sticking to her guns and refusing to change her stance despite all the criticism.