German Chancellor Angela Merkel has launched the final phase of her re-election campaign with a rousing speech to the CDU party faithful.
Merkel told the cheering crowd in Dusseldorf her grand coalition had created a million new jobs and cut unemployment. But she wants to ditch the SPD as a coalition partner in favour of the pro-business Free Democrats. “Now the time is up for the present government, now the country needs a new government. And I tell you: this country needs a government by the Christian Democrats and the Liberals,” Merkel declared. With opinion polls narrowing in the race ahead of the vote on September 27, Merkel went on the attack against her SPD challenger Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier. She accused the SPD of resorting to fear mongering over a centre-right government out of despair. The SPD, she said, is suffering an “identity crisis”. Steinmeier says a centre-right government would lead to social tensions in Germany warning that plans to extend nuclear power could cause major upheaval across the country.