German Chancellor Angela Merkel has appeared in a televised debate with her chief challenger in this month’s general election.
With journalists from four different channels firing questions, it was seen by many as Peer Steinbrueck’s last chance to change the momentum in a campaign in which he has trailed from the very start. He lost no time in attacking Merkel’s treatment of the Eurozone crisis.
“I would have followed another crisis strategy from the start,” said Peer Steinbrueck. “I would have said that of course there must be budget consolidation in these countries, but not a deadly dose …it’s a remedy well known by both the CDU and CSU to be lethal for their economies. Instead any solution must incorporate a boost as well as cuts. We could call it Marshall-plan two.”
With opinion polls showing over 50 percent of German voters want her to stay on as chancellor, Angela Merkel played up her record in government:
“You know me and you know what I want to achieve and how I act. We have had some good years in Germany and I want the next to be equally good. I want a Germany which has the biggest economy in Europe to be a mediator and partner especially now in times of crisis.”
As a television spectacle the political duel appears to have underwhelmed viewers with Merkel’s necklace in the German national colours attracting the majority of comments.
Election debates in previous years have had little impact on the final outcome – If this one runs true to form Merkel is highly likely to remain as chancellor.