Support for grand coalition dips after 100 days

22nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 February 2006, BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition is marking the build-up to its first 100 days in office with a new opinion poll published Wednesday showing a slide in support for the two parties forming the government.

22 February 2006

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition is marking the build-up to its first 100 days in office with a new opinion poll published Wednesday showing a slide in support for the two parties forming the government.

While senior officials in Merkel's Christian Democrat-Social Democrat coalition praised Berlin's success since it was formed in November, the poll published in the weekly Stern magazine showed support for her conservative CDU dipping below 40 per cent.

At the same time, the weekly poll drawn by pollsters Forsa showed the SPD losing ground again to come in at 28 per cent, down one percentage point. This compares to the 34.2 per cent the party garnered in last September's national election.

The CDU, including its Bavarian-based associate party, the Christian Social Union, also lost a percentage point compared to last week. The CDU-CSU obtained 35.209 per cent in the September election.

But at a press conference Wednesday, senior CDU official Volker Kauder joined with SPD parliamentary faction leader Peter Struck in praising the good working relationship in the government.

The Merkel-led coalition's first 100 days had shown that it was a government that was ready to take decisions and as a consequence had helped to restore the public's confidence in politics, Kauder said.

Echoing Kauder's comments, Struck said that after the grand coalition's confident start to its term in office it was clear that the problems facing the country could be solved in what he called a "constructive competition of ideas."

On Tuesday, Merkel also noted the grand coalition's success in avoiding conflict as it moved to resolve problems.

However, opinion polls also show 51-year-old Merkel winning solid backing from the German electorate since she emerged as the nation's first woman Chancellor after the defeat of Gerhard Schroeder Social Democrat-Green Party coalition.

Rhineland-Pfalz state Premier Kurt Beck, who is also a vice president of the SPD, put down Merkel CDU's success in winning a stronger public profile after her series of international trips since becoming Chancellor. Beck is to face a state election on March 26.

Despite the SPD's weak showing in opinion polls, party chief Matthias Platzeck, who is also premier of the state of Brandenburg, ruled out Wednesday a move to national politics to help boost the Social Democrats political fortunes.

There is no question that the SPD is unhappy with its current opinion poll numbers, Platzeck told the daily Bild, but he insisted that "we have a reasonable and clear division of labour in the SPD leadership. And it stays that way."

But according to the Forsa poll if a direct election for Chancellor was held, Merkel would gain 53 per cent of the vote and Platzeck would win 23 per cent.

DPA

Subject: German news

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