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Want to understand this year’s German Election? Look to the Reformation

The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 theses reveals how faith still matters in German public life—and, crucially, in the nation's politics

By Phoebe Cooke  

A Martin Luther Playmobil figure is just one of the tributes planned. Photo: PA

In the days ahead of the election a small east German town is brimming with anticipation. Crowds fill the streets, chattering excitedly as they follow signs on vast billboard posters. No, it is not Chancellor Angela Merkel or challenger Martin Schulz who are causing such a stir, but the significant anniversary of the Reformation ringleader.

Whether it’s ten years of nationwide celebrations or the advent of Playmobil’s best-selling bowl-cut figurine, it’s been hard to ignore…

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