Angela Merkel has admitted her party may finally lose power after she resigns later this month, with opinion polls showing her support has plummeted.
The German Chancellor said on Thursday that her party is fighting and has always been aware that it will not “automatically” keep Germany’s top post after 16 years in power, but downplayed the alarming poll results to the approach of elections in the country.
Recent polls have shown that Merkel’s Union bloc led by future successor Armin Laschet was in second place behind the center-left Social Democrats, with very low support of around 20%.
Laschet, the chancellor candidate of Merkel’s conservative CDU / CSU bloc, has long been the frontrunner to be Germany’s next leader, but his ratings have plummeted following a series of missteps.
The party is running out of time to turn the tide before the legislative elections on September 26.
Angela Merkel (pictured Thursday) admitted her party may finally lose power after she resigns later this month, with opinion polls showing her support has collapsed
Merkel has largely remained out of the campaign, although she has made a number of interventions lately – the most recent, attacking the possibility of a future left-wing administration and trying to spur Laschet into an unusually partisan discourse. in Parliament on Tuesday.
When asked at a press conference on Thursday whether she was concerned that her record might be tainted by the loss of her party in the chancellery, Merkel replied that “we are in the midst of an election campaign and I can see that ( it’s) really fighting ”.
She added that what happens on election day matters, so she won’t speculate.
“It was clear to everyone in the CDU and CSU that we would not return to the Chancellery automatically and effortlessly after 16 years,” Merkel said.
She was referring to her Christian Democratic Union, which Laschet now heads, and her sister Bavarian party, the Christian Social Union.
Markus Soeder, the Bavarian governor and head of the CSU who fought earlier this year with Laschet for the appointment as chancellor, told the dpa news agency that “if there is still a chance of break the trend, so it’s this weekend ”.
Pictured: The last session of the German Bundestag before the federal parliamentary elections on September 7, 2021 in Berlin
He was referring to a CSU party convention to be held on Friday and Saturday – and possibly also the second of three televised debates between the three chancellor candidates, to be held on Sunday.
The first debate on August 29 failed to lift Laschet.
Laschet’s response to the flooding in his state was the start of a downfall for the 60-year-old, after he was filmed joking with local officials during a tribute to flood victims.
If the alliance’s fortunes do not improve quickly, it could collapse from government to an SPD-led alliance – most likely with the Greens and the liberal FDP or the far left Die Linke.
The Social Democrats have also benefited from the relative popularity of their candidate, Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, in the first election since 1949 when no incumbent is running for re-election.
Polls show the Greens ecologist, whose co-leader Annalena Baerbock is making her first round for the Chancellery, in third place.
Merkel said in 2018 that she would not run for a fifth term. Scholz recently tried to present himself as his natural successor, even though he is from another party.
At the same time, the Union has issued increasingly frequent warnings that Scholz, a centrist figure, will form a coalition comprising the Left Opposition Party, which does not like NATO and opposes the German military missions abroad. Scholz hasn’t ruled that out, but it’s clearly not his preferred option.
When asked what she appreciates about Scholz, Merkel replied laconically, “that when we discuss and agree on something with each other, we both stick to it. “