Polls still point to 'Grand Coalition' under Merkel

15th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 September 2005, BERLIN - A 'grand coalition' with Angela Merkel as chancellor is the likely outcome of the German elections, opinion polls suggested Thursday, three days before Europe's largest and richest nation goes to the polls.

15 September 2005

BERLIN - A 'grand coalition' with Angela Merkel as chancellor is the likely outcome of the German elections, opinion polls suggested Thursday, three days before Europe's largest and richest nation goes to the polls.

Up to a third of the electorate remained undecided ahead of Sunday's election, which is being fought almost entirely over tax and financial reforms aimed at boosting the economy and trimming a burgeoning budgetary deficit.

The main camps have accused each other of keeping secret post-election plans to cut social services and reduce tax allowances.

The Social Democrats (SPD) of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder continued to attack the tax reforms put forward by Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), charging they will benefit the rich and hit the disadvantaged.

Merkel's supporters claimed SPD Finance Minister Hans Eichel had a secet list of cuts that would be implemented should the SPD-Greens coalition be returned to power.

The six main polls gave the CDU/CSU 41.6 of the vote, and their favoured coalition partners, the liberal FDP, 6.7 per cent. The total of 48.3 per cent is likely to be insufficient for a majority in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.

The SPD was on 33.7 per cent, with their Greens coalition partners on 7.2 per cent.

The new Left Party of former communists in the East and breakaway socialists in the West was on 7.9 per cent.

Schroeder and Merkel continued to insist they were aiming for majorities for their coalitions, but discussion among commentators centred on the formation of a coalition of the CDU/CSU with the SPD under Merkel as chancellor.

Leaders of the Greens and the FDP made clear they would not enter government with each other, although lower-ranking politicians would not rule out the possibility.

The Greens and the SPD insisted with few exceptions that they would not join forces with the Left Party, even if there was a majority for a leftist, three-way coalition.

DPA

Subject: German news

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