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Shock Poll Sees Merkel Fall Behind Social Democrats for First Time

A poll conducted after former European Union (EU) President Martin Schulz assumed leadership of the German Social Democrats (SPD) sees the party now ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

The poll conducted by INSA on behalf of German magazine Bild shows the SPD with 31 per cent of the votes and the CDU with 30 per cent. The poll marks the first time since August 2010 that the SPD has polled better than the conservative CDU, Die Weltreports.

Germany: #SPD ahead of #Merkel's CDU/CSU (INSA poll). #btw17#Kanzlerkandidatinpic.twitter.com/Yp1QuqL8pv

— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) February 6, 2017

The anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) managed to hold onto their position as the third most supported party in the country with 12 per cent of the votes. They are followed by the far-left Die Linke, the Green party, and the libertarian-leaning Free Democratic party who polled at six per cent, just above the five per cent threshold to score seats in the parliament.

Hermann Binkert, head of INSA, said that the results reflected the effect of former EU president Martin Schulz taking over the party leadership from Sigmar Gabriel. “The Bundestag election is completely open,” he said.

The spokesman for the inner circle of the SPD, known as the Seeheimer Kreis, Johannes Kahrs was emboldened by the poll and told German media, “Merkel is like Kohl in 1998. People want a new face.” Helmut Kohl was chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and was a former leader of the CDU.

Given the result of the poll, a new coalition could be formed yet again by the two major parties, though there could also be an option for the SPD to join with the Greens and the far-left Die Linke as they have recently done in Berlin if the parties can manage to score a few extra percentage points. The red-red-green coalition in the German capital has already gone against the federal government on the subject of deportations.

Martin Schulz has already laid out his plan for defeating Angela Merkel in the September election saying that by working so much with Merkel he had gotten to know her and knows how to defeat her.

Should Mr. Schulz become the new German Chancellor later this year, the rhetoric against the Trump administration could heighten given his past comments on the U.S. president. Last week, Schulz called President Donald J. Trump’s recent policies “unAmerican” and said, “If Trump is now driving a wrecking ball through this set of values, then I will tell him as chancellor: that’s not the policy of Germany and Europe.”

Chris Tomlinson

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