German Chancellor Angela Merkel kicks off election campaign | Election | DW | 06.09.2009
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Election

German Chancellor Angela Merkel kicks off election campaign

Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats have launched the final phase of their election campaign. Despite praising the work of the incumbent coalition with the Social Democrats, she favors a center-right coalition.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the CDU party meeting

Merkel is pushing for a center-rigth coalition after the vote

Germans are due to go to the polls in national elections on September 27. On Sunday, the Christian Democrats (CDU) gathered in Dusseldorf for the final phase of their campaign.

In a fiery speech to some 9,000 party members Merkel called for a center-right coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).

"Is Germany going to stick to its centrist course of prudence and confidence - or is Germany going to get lost in untested political waters? That's the question people will be asked to answer on Election Day," she said.

"We want you to answer with the best interests of the country at heart. And then the only answer is to vote for the conservative union."

Polls show Merkel leads

According to current opinion polls Angela Merkel could indeed get her way in the September election.

The conservatives are ahead with around 36 percent of the vote while the FDP stands at about 15 percent - which together would just about give them a majority. But Merkel's lead is narrowing after the CDU suffered heavy losses in two recent state elections.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Steinmeier trails Merkel in the opinion polls

Should the center-right combination fail to muster more than 50 percent, Merkel might find herself back in the same old "Grand Coalition" with the Social Democrats (SPD). She therefore defended the work of the last four years praising the achievements in job creation, education, research and family policy.

Merkel insisted however that Germany would be on a much stronger footing with the Social Democrats voted out of government. She accused the SPD of not knowing whether to team up with smaller parties on the left and right or to continue supporting the idea of a grand coalition.

Merkel avoided making a direct attack against her SPD challenger, current Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, but accused the Social Democrats of resorting to fear-mongering over a center-right government out of despair over their own course.

In opinion polls that pit Merkel directly against her challenger Steinmeier, the incumbent chancellor still enjoys a strong lead of 57 percent compared to his 28 percent.

ai/Reuters/dpa
Editor: Andy Valvur

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