'Is Germany tired of Merkel?' asks
mass-selling newspaper Bild
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[February 07, 2017]
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's
mass-selling newspaper Bild openly questioned whether voters have had
enough of Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday after a poll showed the
Social Democrats (SPD) pulling ahead of her conservatives.
"Is Germany tired of Merkel?" Bild asked in a headline after a survey
for the newspaper by pollster INSA put the center-left SPD on 31 percent
and Merkel's conservative bloc on 30 percent.
The SPD, junior partner in Merkel's ruling "grand coalition", has been
trailing the conservative CDU/CSU bloc - known as the "Union" - for
years in opinion polls. It last won an election under Gerhard Schroeder
But the SPD has been re-energised by its appointment of Martin Schulz, a
former European Parliament president who came home to enter German
politics, as its new leader last week.
He replaced Sigmar Gabriel, who said he was standing aside to boost the
Schulz has vowed to unseat Merkel with a campaign aimed at overcoming
"deep divisions" that he says have fueled populism in Germany in recent
"A close race between the SPD and the Union is in any case good for
German democracy," Bild said in an editorial, adding that the SPD's
revival made another grand coalition less likely.
Unlike other SPD leaders, Schulz has had no role in Merkel's grand
coalitions - governments of the two largest parties because no other
coalition was mathematically or politically possible - and can more
readily critique her record.
[to top of second column]
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and leader of the conservative
Christian Democratic Union party CDU casts a shadow as she arrives
for a news conference with Horst Seehofer, federal state premier of
Bavaria and chairman of the CDU's Bavarian sister party Christian
Social Union (CSU) following their meeting to end their differences
on the refugee policy in Munich, southern Germany, February 6, 2017.
Merkel, in office since 2005, currently heads her second grand
coalition with the SPD. Between them, she led a coalition with the
smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP) from 2009 to 2013.
The SPD has held exploratory talks with the environmentalist Greens
and the far-left Linke party about forming a left-leaning coalition
government after the election.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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