German Social Democrats' lead narrows days before election

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By Reuters
SPD's Scholz offers steel sector help as German election race tightens
SPD's Scholz offers steel sector help as German election race tightens   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">BERLIN</span>/STRALSUND, Germany -Germany’s Social Democrats (<span class="caps">SPD</span>) saw their lead over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives narrow in a poll published on Tuesday, pointing to a tightening race just five days before a federal election. </p> <p>The centre-left <span class="caps">SPD</span>, whose candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz is currently vice chancellor and finance minister in Merkel’s grand coalition, remained stable at 25%, according to the Forsa poll for <span class="caps">RTL</span>/n-tv television.</p> <p>Support for the conservative <span class="caps">CDU</span>/CSU alliance, whose chancellor candidate is Armin Laschet, edged up one percentage point to 22%. </p> <p>The other parties were all unchanged, with the Greens on 17%, the business-friendly Free Democrats (<span class="caps">FDP</span>) at 11%, the far-right AfD at 11% and the anti-capitalist Left party at 6%.</p> <p>At a campaign rally in the northern town of Stralsund, part of her constituency, Merkel implored voters to back her party.</p> <p>“There is a lot at stake on Sunday,” she told supporters gathered in pouring rain, and flanked by Laschet.</p> <p>“It is about whether we stick to the course of moderation and centrism … or whether we make policy that only thinks about distribution (of wealth),” she said, arguing that a left-wing coalition could not deliver solid public finances.</p> <p><span class="caps">SPD</span> <span class="caps">STILL</span> <span class="caps">AHEAD</span></p> <p>Merkel, in power since 2005, plans to stand down after the election. The <span class="caps">SPD</span>’s Scholz is German voters’ most popular choice by far to succeed her as chancellor.</p> <p>Forsa projected that the <span class="caps">SPD</span> would win 206 seats in the next Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, the <span class="caps">CDU</span>/CSU bloc 185, the Greens 140, the <span class="caps">FDP</span> and the AfD 91 each and the Left 49.</p> <p>This raises the possibility of four coalition options after Sunday’s election:</p> <p>- the <span class="caps">SPD</span> with the Greens and <span class="caps">FDP</span>, also known as a traffic light coalition due to their party colours of red, green and yellow;</p> <p>- the <span class="caps">CDU</span>/CSU bloc with the Greens and the <span class="caps">FDP</span>, described as a Jamaica coalition in reference to the country’s flag and the party colours of black, green and yellow;</p> <p>- <span class="caps">SPD</span> with the Greens and the Left, dubbed R2G or red-green-red coalition;</p> <p>- or an <span class="caps">SPD</span>-led grand coalition with the conservatives as junior partner.</p> <p>All parties have ruled out working with the populist, far-right AfD.</p> <p>Scholz and the Greens have also poured cold water on the idea of forming a coalition with the conservatives, saying that the <span class="caps">CDU</span>/CSU alliance needed to rebuild itself in opposition following 16 years of Merkel’s consensus-driven, centrist rule.</p> </div>