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Germans believe Merkel's best days are over

January 4, 2018

Although 67 percent of Germans think Merkel is no longer the leader she once was, they don't see many alternatives. According to a new survey, three-quarters of the country think it's time for a change at her CDU party.

Berlin Vorsondierung zur Regierungsbildung | Angela Merkel
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache

Germany Poll

About two-thirds of Germans believe that Chancellor Angela Merkel's best times are behind her, according to a new survey published Thursday. The poll, carried out by Die Welt daily and public broadcaster ARD, said that 67 percent of Germans believe that Merkel is no longer the leader she once was.

That didn't mean, however, that Germans have completely lost faith in their long-time leader. Some 65 percent of respondents said they believed that Merkel was still "a good chancellor."

The bigger problem, the poll suggests, is the lack of other stand-out personalities in her center-right Christian Democratic (CDU) party, which after Merkel's 12 years in office has not been able to come up with an heir apparent to the chancellor.

Three-quarters of Germans said that it was time for "new personnel" in the CDU.

Graph: What people think of the CDU and Angela Merkel

Over 100 days without a government

The survey also highlighted the growing frustration that more than 100 days after the country's general election on September 24, the seven parties in the Bundestag have yet to form a government.

Although the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, gained 32.9 percent of the vote, the relatively weak result has left them scrambling for coalition partners. After talks with the pro-business FDP and Green party fell through, the CDU has had to approach its biggest rivals and reluctant "grand coalition" partners, Social Democrats (SPD), to see if the center-left would agree to rule together for four more years.

Infographic 'which party would you vote for'
Support for each party has remained relatively the same since the election in September

Although a grand coalition may be the only way out of a minority government — an unstable option Berlin wants to avoid at all costs, Germans were less than enthusiastic at the prospect. About 45 percent said they would support another CDU/SPD pairing, while the greater majority — 52 percent — said they simply didn't feel strongly enough about it to register an opinion, which perhaps says more about the state of German politics than anything else.

Elizabeth Schumacher
Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.