Merkel might release oil reserves to cut prices
1 September 2005
BERLIN – Germany’s opposition chancellor candidate Angela Merkel, who polls predict will win elections in just over two weeks, said Thursday she would consider releasing the country’s strategic oil reserves to ease soaring petrol prices.
“This should not be a taboo in Germany,” said Merkel in reply to calls by the opposition Free Democrats (FDP), with whom she hopes set up a government, to sell off reserves as the super petrol rose to EUR 1.39 per litre.
Merkel made her remarks after the U.S. said it would release part of its 700 million barrel strategic oil reserves to dampen the impact of Hurricane Katrina which shut down oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.
Flanked by CSU Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber and FDP chief Guido Westerwelle, the Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) candidate Merkel vowed the three parties would be in a position to swiftly set up a government, if they won September 18 elections.
She attacked Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats (SPD) policies as “disastrous” for failing to bring economic growth and decrease unemployment which is currently 11.4 per cent.
Four of Germany’s six leading opinion polls give Merkel’s CDU/CSU- FDP coalition between 50 and 51.3 per cent of the vote. The other two polls show it at 49 per cent.
Schroeder’s SPD-Greens government is at between 35.8 per cent and 39 per cent.
The newly-founded Left Party continues to lose support with the polls showing between 8 per cent and 10 per cent. Early last month, the party comprised of former East Germany’s revamped communists and a western German protest group with rebel SPD members and unionists was at 13 per cent.
Some analysts predict that Merkel may fail to win a majority and be forced to ask Schroeder’s SPD to serve as her junior partner in a grand coalition government which both leaders say they do not want.
Subject: German news