Reactions to the violent Monday evening attack on a Berlin Christmas market that left 12 dead and 48 injured will be closely watched for their potential to affect next year's crucial elections in Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the current favorite as she prepares to run for a fourth term in next year's elections yet faces mounting opposition from anti-immigration populist political groups and parties, such as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Pegida.
Success in local elections this year indicate AfD is in a position to feasibly pick up sufficient votes to secure seats in Germany's national parliament in the elections – a first for a far-Right party since the Second World War.
Although her popularity has since recovered some ground, Merkel saw it dive on the back of her decision in 2015 to open the country's borders to around a million refugees from conflict-strewn zones of the Middle East.
A spate of provocations linked to refugees, including multiple sexual assaults in Cologne last New Year's Eve, a suicide bomber at a beer festival and an ax-wielding attacker on a commuter train, further hardened the mood against Merkel's liberal stance.
Acknowledging the strength of public sentiment as she addressed the nation on Tuesday morning following the Christmas market attack, Merkel conceded that the violent act had to be assumed to be terrorism.
"I know it would be especially hard for us all to bear if it were confirmed that the person who committed this act was someone who sought protection and asylum," she further admitted.
Reacting to Monday's attacks, Marcus Pretzell, an AfD politician asked on Twitter, "When will the German rule of law strike back? When will this cursed hypocrisy end? These are Merkel's dead!"