Germany’s Social Democrats have been marking their 150th anniversary with a rally in Berlin, ahead of next month’s elections.
The SPD and the Greens – who have ruled out a coalition with the Left Party – trail Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition by around eight points in the polls.
“I want to become chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany because the political standstill of this government weakens Germany,” Peer Steinbrück, SPD candidate, told the crowd.
“There is not enough investment in the future and this country is only being administered and not politically shaped.”
Chancellor Merkel, fighting for a third term in office, is warning her supporters against complacency. She said that voters must recognise the country’s achievements.
“Ten years ago Germany was the sick man, too, the sick man of Europe. Then we changed and, due to these changes, we are today the anchor of stability and the motor of growth in Europe. We want to stay in that position,” Merkel told a rally.
Merkel is worried that the SPD and the Greens might break their vow and form a coalition with the ostracised Left Party, which is popular in the east and on eight percent in voter surveys.