Full Term for Merkel Opposed by Growing Share of Germans in Poll

  • Her would-be SPD allies the most averse to four more years
  • Chancellor, Social Democrats begin coalition talks next month
What's Next For Merkel?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s public support for another full term dwindled in a poll, with opposition running high in the party she wants as partner for her next government.

A YouGov survey published Wednesday said 47 percent of Germans want Merkel to step down before the end of the four-year mandate her party won in September, up from 36 percent in October. It’s a sign that the political stalemate since the election may be working against the acting chancellor before preliminary coalition talks with the Social Democrats begin on Jan. 7.

Among SPD voters, 64 percent want Merkel to serve only part of her term, according to the poll for German newswire Deutsche Presse-Agentur. The resistance underscores how difficult it will be for SPD head Martin Schulz to persuade party members to back another coalition with Merkel, who has said she intends to serve a full term.

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Even so, more than half of supporters of both Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc and the SPD expect them to agree on another “grand coalition” of the two biggest parties, according to the Dec. 19-21 poll of 2,036 people.

While that alliance has been Merkel’s power base for eight of her 12 years in office, the SPD is wary of another tie-up after emerging from the latest four years in government with its worst electoral defeat since World War II.

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Schulz’s case to party members won’t be helped by a Forsa poll published Wednesday that suggests support for the SPD fell below 20 percent for only the second time since the election. While Merkel’s bloc rose 1 point to 34 percent, the Social Democrats fell 1 point to 19 percent in the weekly survey.

The Greens and the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany polled 12 percent each, with the Left party at 10 percent and the pro-market Free Democratic Party at 8 percent. The Dec. 18-22 poll of 2,504 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The FDP, which walked out of coalition talks with Merkel and the Greens in November, are ready to return to to the table but not under Merkel, party head Christian Lindner said in a Dec. 23 interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

At some point, “the CDU may also have other election programs and other decision-makers that allow a reassessment of the situation,” Lindner told the newspaper.

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