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Germany

For Germany's Chancellor, Popularity Might Not Be Enough

Chancellor Angela Merkel's re-election chances look good. A new poll shows 62 percent of respondants want her to continue in office past elections due in September 2009. But her party is struggling.

Angela Merkel speaks at a conference in Berlin

Voters feel that Merkel has her act together

The poll shows that Merkel, of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is finding support from beyond her traditional party base. according to a new poll released Wednesday, July 9.

Merkel was popular even with the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in the coalition, and with the opposition Greens, with a majority of supporters from both parties happy to see her remain in office through the next elections.

A full 69 percent of more than 2,500 voters surveyed by the Forsa Institute passed a positive verdict on the chancellor'sachievements since her broad coalition government took power in

November 2005. But only 36 per cent took a positive view of the government as a whole.

A huge majority - 82 percent - said Merkel represented Germany well abroad, with even 72 per cent of supporters of the socialist Left Party giving the chancellor good marks in this area.

Merkel's party unpopular

The chancellor's popularity failed to rub off on her conservative Christian bloc. Support for the CDU and its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) was at around 36 percent, according to the poll commissioned by the weekly Stern magazine.

Germany's other main party, the SPD, continued to languish near its postwar lows, securing just 22 percent support.

Merkel's preferred partner, the liberal FDP, was on 13 percent, leaving a centre-right coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP short of the required majority.

The Greens, the SPD's partner under the previous chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, were on 10 per cent, while the Left, which remains ostracized by the other parties at federal level, was on 13 per cent.

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