Chancellor Angela Merkel embarks on a six-week campaign tour next month that will take her to 56 cities and towns and all 16 of Germany’s states as she seeks re-election to a third term on Sept. 22.
The tour begins on Aug. 14 in the central state of Hesse in Seligenstadt, a town which dates back to Roman times. It winds up the day before the vote with appearances in Berlin and then in her electoral district of Stralsund on the Baltic Sea coast, according to a schedule e-mailed today by her Christian Democratic Union party.
Two months to the day before the federal election, Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, lead the opposition Social Democrats by as many as 18 percentage points in polls amid joblessness near a two-decade low and voter approval of the chancellor’s handling of the debt crisis.
The 31-day tour takes in two campaign rallies most days and includes eight stops in Germany’s largest state and industrial heartland, North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as seven stops each in Bavaria and Hesse. She’ll visit Bonn, the former West German capital, on Aug. 24, and hold a rally in Frankfurt, Germany’s banking capital, on Aug. 30.
Merkel begins the “hot phase” of the campaign on Sept. 8 in the western city of Dusseldorf on the River Rhine, and campaigns daily from Sept. 10, the CDU schedule showed.
Support for Merkel’s CDU-led bloc dropped one percentage point to 40 percent in a poll published yesterday by Emnid that showed the SPD also down a point at 25 percent. Merkel’s Free Democratic Party allies gained a point to 6 percent, while the SPD’s Green Party allies were also up a point at 13 percent.
The anti-capitalist Left Party had 8 percent, while neither the Pirate party with 3 percent, nor the anti-euro AfD with 2 percent had enough support to win seats in parliament. Emnid polled 1,854 votes on July 11-17. No margin of error was given.
The proliferation of “other parties” taking votes without gaining seats means that a combined 46 percent on Election Day may be enough for Merkel to continue her current coalition, Deutsche Bank AG said in a note to clients today.
“While chances have increased that the new government will be the old one -- implying a very broad continuity in terms of policy and personnel terms -- the uncertainties attached to polls leave a grand coalition between CDU/CSU and SPD a valid option,” the bank said.