Angela Merkel is set to hold on to a fourth term as Germany's Chancellor next year in what is likely to be a "messy" election battle, an independent European Union expert told CNBC.
Amid rising support for extremist parties and growing discontent for Merkel's refugee policy, the 2017 general election is lining up to be an historic one for the EU's largest economy.
"Of course, it's going to be messy," Nina Schick, an independent EU expert told CNBC on Monday.
"I think the headline of the German election is going to be that the AfD (Alternative for Germany), the far-right populist party, is going to smash the threshold to get into the Bundestag. That in German politics is going to spook people - a far-right, populist, anti-migration party going into the Bundestag," Shick added.
Recent state elections across Germany showed that voters are becoming increasingly more supportive of anti-immigration rhetoric. For instance, the AfD managed to beat Merkel's CDU party in an election in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in September. While AfD obtained 21 percent of the votes, the ruling CDU came only in third with 19 percent.
Merkel, who has been in the chancellery since 2005, has been criticized for her open-door policy to refugees. She was the first EU leader to welcome migrants escaping the war-torn Middle East and Africa – something that has not been well-received within her own country. According to the BBC, Merkel's approval ratings are at a five-year low as a result.
"When it comes to the German public, they always talk about more solidarity in Europe, but when it actually comes to the policies for paying for that then it's going to be a resounding no," Schick said.
This has been the case also for the euro zone crisis, with German voters increasingly worried about any potential financial contributions to bailout euro area countries.
However, despite the migration crisis and ongoing economic troubles within the euro area, Merkel is running alone. For the past 10 years in politics, there hasn't been one candidate able to challenge her position.
"Even though we are seeing historic opposition to Merkel because of the refugee crisis, there's simply nobody else who could fill the chancellor's shoes, especially right now when you have Brexit, the continuing euro zone crisis, Russia and the migration crisis," Schick told CNBC.
"She's still the Queen," Schick added.