A new opinion poll in Germany suggests for the first time that an anti-euro party could gain enough share of the vote to enter parliament, threatening the governing coalition.
The INSA survey for Bild newspaper gives the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party six percent of the vote.
Its supporters fear Germans will be called upon still further to prop up the euro and want a return to the Deutschmark.
Even though Angela Merkel’s conservatives from the CDU still lead the polls – given 38 percent by INSA – the AfD inside parliament could throw coalition negotiations into disarray.
Merkel’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has attacked the new party, saying life without the euro would be “extremely dangerous” for German prosperity.
But one regional CDU party chief, Volker Bouffier the Hessen state premier, has caused a stir by saying he could envisage a coalition with the eurosceptics. His comment prompted a quick intervention from his spokesman – reiterating the official conservative party line: that such an alliance was out of the question.
The centre-left Social Democrats under Peer Steinbrück are put at 28 percent in the latest poll. They are not helped by the fact their partners the Greens continue to struggle on under 10 percent.
Encouragingly for Angela Merkel, her coalition partners the Free Democrats are given just enough support to clear the parliamentary hurdle – six percent according to the latest poll.
However, more disturbing for the chancellor is the suggestion that the scale of support for the anti-euro party could be underestimated – because, it is said, voters may not want to admit to pollsters their backing for a party whose views are outside the German mainstream.
With days to go before the election, small parties such as the anti-euro AfD are making their presence felt.
Their score could have a decisive impact on a future coalition.