Opponents of Chancellor Angela Merkel have stepped up their election campaign while the German leader is away on holiday.
At a meeting in Hamburg, Peer Steinbrueck, Germany’s former Finance Minister who now leads the Social Democrat party, attacked Merkel as a “do-nothing” leader.
Steinbrueck told the crowds: “This government means standstill. Standstill is not exhausting, I admit. Standstill doesn’t make you sweat. Some people like it this way. That may help explain why this government – at least Mrs Merkel, sometimes hovering above the cabinet more like a president – believes it could get away with lulling all of us to sleep.”
Steinbrueck is calling for higher taxes on the wealthy and tighter rules for “gambling” bankers. He has also promised to introduce rent controls and to use the funds for education and infrastructure.
His centre-left SDP is trailing at around 15 points behind Merkel’s Conservatives. The SDP hopes that a coalition with the Greens can stop Merkel’s centre-right coalition with the Free Democrat party from returning to power.
Germany’s general election will take place on September 22nd.