How a German state election affects Europe
(CNN)--Germany's electoral map has many colors in comparison to the red and blue of America, yet on both sides of the Atlantic, battleground state elections can portend change on the national level. Voters in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany's most populous state, go to the polls this Sunday, and what they decide will set the tone for German federal politics just as citizen sentiments in bellwethers such as Ohio or Pennsylvania affect the balance of power in Washington DC.
In turn, Brussels will be watching because Germany is the power broker within the EU -- and this will not be the first time that NRW has caused Europe to pause while German political parties jockeyed to govern in a region that generates nearly 4% of EU GDP. The state has many large cities with a population density to match Tokyo, and nearly a quarter of Germany's top 100 companies are based there.
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Sudha David-Wilip is a Senior Program Officer at the Berlin Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.