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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose Conservatives have fallen behind in polls for an election to replace her later this month, took aim on Tuesday at the Social Democratic candidate for declining to rule out a coalition with the far left. After 16 years in power, Mrs Merkel’s conservatives are facing defeat, with a poll this week showing the centre-left SPD with a five-point lead.
A separate snap poll showed the SPD candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, beat other candidates in a televised debate on Sunday.
Polls suggest Scholz could have several possible paths to form a coalition. However, when pressed during Sunday’s debate, Scholz did not categorically rule out forming a coalition with the far-left Linke party. Conservatives say this would mean a big lurch away from Germany’s centrist mainstream.
“With me as Chancellor there would never be a coalition in which the Linke is involved, and whether this (stance) is shared by Olaf Scholz or not remains open,” Merkel told a joint news conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
“In this context, there is simply a huge difference for the future of Germany between me and him,” she added of Scholz.
Merkel, in power since 2005, plans to stand down after the election. Her Conservatives’ candidate for Chancellor, Armin Laschet, has failed to capture voters’ imagination.
Three and a half weeks before the federal election, the SPD in Brandenburg is on the upswing. The AfD is behind in second place. This emerges from the BrandenburgTrend by infratest dimap, which was commissioned by the rbb magazine “Brandenburg aktuell” and Antenne Brandenburg.
If the Bundestag election were this Sunday, the SPD would – unlike four years ago – become the strongest party in Brandenburg. With 29 percent, it would be ahead of the AfD (18 percent), CDU (15 percent) and Left (11 percent). According to Infratest dimap, the Greens and the FDP would receive 9 percent each. Just below the 5 percent hurdle are the Free Voters in Brandenburg with 4 percent.
Mr Scholz can significantly expand his lead. Almost half of the respondents – exactly 47 percent – would vote for him directly if that were possible. Compared to the survey in May, this is an increase of 24 percentage points.
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Armin Laschet and Annalena Baerbock each achieved 9 percent.
The support for the CDU party leader among his own supporters is particularly low.
Only 45 percent of the potential CDU voters want him as chancellor, 31 percent would vote for SPD candidate Scholz.
The SPD supporters, on the other hand, are almost unanimously (91 percent) behind the SPD candidate.
The planned phase-out of coal by 2038 also divides the Brandenburgers. Only one third (37 percent) will accept the end of coal-fired power generation at this point in time. Three out of ten (29 percent) want to get out earlier, 27 percent also want to mine coal beyond that.
The coal phase-out is particularly controversial in the lignite regions, where only 9 percent can imagine an earlier phase-out. In the Berlin area, on the other hand, 42 percent are of the opinion that lignite should be abandoned sooner.
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In terms of national politics, too, the balance of power in the coalition has developed in favour of a dominant SPD. If the state parliament were elected on Sunday, the SPD would receive 34 percent of the vote – an increase of 11 points compared to the Brandenburg trend in May.
The coalition partners would lose out: the CDU only comes to 13 percent (-3), the Greens to 8. This means their poll value has halved since May (-8).
The second strongest party in the state parliament would still be the AfD with 17 percent (-1). The Left would reach 9 percent, Free Voters and FDP could also move into the state parliament with 7 percent each. The parliament would consist of seven political groups.
53 percent of those surveyed are satisfied with the work of the red-black-green state government in Potsdam, in May it was only 49 percent.
When looking at corona measures, a majority is in favour of more normalisation in Brandenburg schools on the one hand and more pressure on unvaccinated people on the other.
Seven out of ten respondents are in favour of face-to-face teaching in schools, even if the number of infections is rising.
Not only elementary school students, but all students should be exempted from the mask requirement in class, say 56 percent.
From August 25th to 30th, 1,157 eligible voters in Brandenburg were interviewed for the Brandenburg Trend.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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