Sup­port for Merkel’s party drops ahead of elec­tion

Irish Examiner - - World News - Michael Nien­aber

Sup­port for Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives has slipped, and over a third of Ger­mans are un­sure how they will vote, an opinion poll showed, fu­elling un­cer­tainty about what kind of coali­tion will emerge from the Septem­ber 24 elec­tion.

The weekly sur­vey, con­ducted by poll­ster Forschungs­gruppe Wahlen for ZDF tele­vi­sion, showed sup­port for Merkel’s con­ser­va­tive bloc fall­ing 2 points to 36% — a re­sult that would still make it the largest group in par­lia­ment.

Sup­port for its near­est ri­vals, the left-lean­ing So­cial Democrats (SPD), rose by one point to 23%. The busi- ness-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the anti-im­mi­gra­tion, euro-hos­tile Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) were both on 10%.

The poll of 1,383 vot­ers, also showed that 39% of those sur­veyed were still un­sure how they would vote.

“More than ever, all these polls should be taken with a grain of salt now. There surely could be some sur­prises on elec­tion night,” said Gero Neuge­bauer, po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Ber­lin’s Free Uni­ver­sity.

He doubted the SPD could over­take Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives, who he ex­pected to be the largest par­lia­men­tary party with the So­cial Democrats the sec­ond big­gest.

“But in the fight among the smaller par­ties for third place and pos­si­ble power in a coali­tion, ev­ery­thing is still up in the air,” Neuge­bauer added.

With the elec­tion likely to in­stall six par­ties in par­lia­ment, up from four now, Ger­many will be marked by a more frac­tured po­lit­i­cal land­scape af­ter the vote. This could make coali­tion­build­ing dif­fi­cult.

The lat­est poll showed sup­port for the far-left Linke stood at 9%, with the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Greens on 8%.

For­eign Min­is­ter Sig­mar Gabriel, a se­nior So­cial Demo­crat, told broad­caster SWR he favoured a so-called “traf­fic light” coali­tion with the FDP and Greens. How­ever, the poll put sup­port for such an al­liance at just 41%.

The sur­vey showed there would be suf­fi­cient sup­port for both a re­peat of the in­cum­bent “grand coali­tion” of Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives and the SPD, and for a so-called “Ja­maica” coali­tion of the con­ser­va­tives, FDP and Greens.

How­ever, Greens coleader Cem Ozdemir sounded a scep­ti­cal note about a pos­si­ble three-way Ja­maica tie-up — a ref­er­ence to the par­ties’ colours: black (con­ser­va­tives), yel­low (FDP) and green (Greens).

“I don’t see how we should get to­gether with the FDP,” he told the daily Ber­liner Zeitung.

FDP leader Chris­tian Lind­ner also played down the like­li­hood of such an al­liance. “The Greens have long since bid farewell to Ja­maica by rais­ing their de­mands to the max,” he told Der Spiegel mag­a­zine.

Lind­ner, a po­ten­tial fi­nance min­is­ter if the FDP joins a coali­tion, also set out red lines on euro zone pol­icy ahead of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“I fear that Chan­cel­lor Merkel and French President Macron are agreed on new pots of money in the euro zone to cre­ate a gi­gan­tic fi­nan­cial trans­fer sys­tem,” he said.

Pic­ture: AP Photo

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

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