Merkel’s hold on Germany crumbles as new poll shows rival party closing in

Backing for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) dropped while the environmentally friendly Greens enjoyed a boost of 13 percentage points, almost closing the gap between the two parties. The survey shows trouble could be on the cards for the Chancellor’s group at the 2021 federal election. The results come after historian Thomas Meaney warned the future of Mrs Merkel’s party “is in doubt”.  

The CDU was hit with a scandal earlier this year after some of its politicians colluded with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the eastern state of Thuringia.  

The vote to elect liberal leader Thomas Kemmerich as state premier was described as a political earthquake.  

In the latest poll by Kantar the CDU were given 25 percent of the vote, down from the 33 percent it gained in the 2017 election.  

The Greens surged to 22 percent ahead of the nine percent it won three years ago.  

Support for AfD jumped by one point to 14 percent.  

And the Social Democrats experienced a fall of five percent from 21 points to 16.  

A total of 1,509 people took part in the ballot from February 20 to 27.  

The future for Mrs Merkel’s centre-right party was thrown up in the air on February 10 when its leader quit.  

Annegret Kramp-Kartenbauer had been widely tipped to succeed Mrs Merkel as Chancellor.  

Mrs Merkel announced last year that she will not see reelection.  

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Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer resigned amid the Thuringia scandal, leaving the leadership struggle within the party wide open.  

Support for the AfD has grown over recent years.  

It has become the first political party in decades to establish itself as a significant force on the extreme right.  

Germany’s leaders are struggling to work out how to counter a recent rise in right-wing hate, 75 years after the Nazis were driven from power.  

On February 19 nine people died in a shooting rampage carried out by a far-right extremist.  

The violent spree began at a hookah bar in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau and was Germany’s third deadly far-right attack in a matter of months. 

Mrs Merkel denounced the “poison” of racism and hatred in Germany.  

But the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said it was “furious” that authorities for not doing enough.  

It accused those in power of “not resolutely opposing right-wing networks and right-wing terrorism”.  

The rampage followed October’s anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in Halle and the killing in June of a regional politician who supported Mrs Merkel’s welcoming policy toward migrants. 

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