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Merkel’s coalition parties support hits record low
September 10, 2018
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BERLIN: Combined support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance and their partners, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), has hit a record low for any such ‘grand coalition’ government, according to a survey published on Sunday.

Germany’s two biggest and most established parties have had a torrid summer, blighted by infighting over immigration that is flaring up again after violent right-wing protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz followed the fatal stabbing of a German man, for which two migrants were arrested.

The survey by pollster Emnid for the weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag had support for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), down by one percentage point on the week to 29 per cent.

In last September’s federal election, the CDU/CSU bloc won 32.9 per cent of the vote.

The poll put support for the SPD down two points to 17 per cent. In the last election, the SPD won 20.5 per cent of the vote.

Their combined score of 46 per cent was the lowest for any CDU/CSU/SPD coalition - a combination that also held power in 2005-09 and 2013-17 - in Emnid’s poll for the Bild am Sonntag. The pollster surveyed 2,472 voters between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5.

Support for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) was unchanged from the previous week at 15 per cent, the poll showed. The far-left Linke gained one point to 10 per cent. The ecologist Greens were unchanged at 14 per cent and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) remained at 9 per cent.

Merkel urged Macedonians to embrace a deal with Greece over the country’s name at a referendum later this month, in order to secure membership of NATO and European Union.

Macedonia has set Sept. 30 for the referendum on both the membership bids and its agreement with Greece to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia.

After meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in Skopje on Saturday, Merkel said the issues were “very closely linked”.

“Without a solution to this (name) question, the other two things can’t happen,” she told journalists.

In June, NATO invited Macedonia to begin accession talks with the alliance, but said it would have to change its constitution and adopt the new name first.


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