Merkel to Unveil CDU Election Platform on June 24 as Last Party

Chancellor Angela Merkel will unveil her Christian Democratic Union’s campaign platform on June 24, the last political leader to outline a program in an election-year tradition reserved for the ruling party.

The timing of the presentation, coinciding with a CDU convention in Berlin less than three months before the ballot, is a custom that emphasizes Merkel’s main remit to rule, Axel Baeumer, a party spokesman, said today in a phone interview. The policy launch will take place in the last parliamentary week before the summer recess.

“The ruling party or coalition is elected to govern to the end of the legislative period and the CDU will fulfill that mandate,” said Baeumer. “The CDU anticipates a relatively short and hot phase of campaigning that may kick off as late as the start of September.”

Merkel’s Free Democratic coalition partner, fighting to re-qualify for parliament in the Sept. 22 election, was the first party to detail its platform, pledging to defend the euro on March 9. While the CDU leads the main opposition Social Democrats by 10-19 percentage points in polls, the electoral calculus dictates that each must rely on a coalition partner to govern. With the result still too close to call, the greatest challenge for parties may lie in motivating traditional supporters in the few weeks before the election.

‘Old Allegiances’

“We’ve seen a marked surge in non-voters rather than swing-voters over the last decade,” Peter Matuschek, chief political analyst at pollster Forsa in Berlin, said in an interview. “Amid a stalemate in support for the main groups, it’s essential that they go all out to rekindle old allegiances in the closing weeks of the campaign.”

Support for the CDU and its Christian Social Union sister party in Bavaria rose one percentage point to 40 percent, an Emnid poll showed April 28. The Free Democrats dropped a point to 4 percent, below the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats. The SPD had 27 percent and the Greens 14 percent, or 41 percent combined.

Both the SPD and the Greens, co-rulers of Germany from 1998 to 2005, published election programs this month that pledge tax increases amid a perceived widening of an income gap between Germany’s less-well-off and wealthier citizens. The focus on redistributing wealth was blasted by industry and the ruling coalition.

The Left Party, a post-communist group that derives most of its support in eastern Germany, will publish its manifesto on June 14 in the city of Dresden. The party dropped a point in Emnid’s latest poll to 7 percent. Emnid polled 2,440 voters on April 18-24. No margin of error was given.

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