Angela Merkel tipped for fourth term as her stock skyrockets

German chancellor can do little wrong with an impressed public – if polls are to be trusted

German chancellor Angela Merkel: The Emnid survey gives her and her allies more support than the rest of Germany’s Bundestag parties put together. Photograph: Axel Schmidt

German chancellor Angela Merkel: The Emnid survey gives her and her allies more support than the rest of Germany’s Bundestag parties put together. Photograph: Axel Schmidt

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently hiking in the Dolomites of South Tyrol and, after a decade in power, she shows no sign of slowing down in Berlin. German voters, it seems, have yet to tire of their first woman leader as a new poll tips the Bundestag balance of power back in favour of her centre-right camp.

With her popularity undimmed, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader, first elected in 2005 and midway through her third term, has reportedly decided to run for a fourth term in 2017.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, Merkel, who turned 61 last month, has already held initial strategy meetings with CDU general secretary Peter Tauber.

“The first staff . . . are being recruited,” said Der Spiegel magazine, citing party sources. Tauber declined to confirm or deny the report, saying only on Twitter: “It’s the summer silly season, haven’t you noticed?”

Merkel refused to comment on her plans before departing on holidays, saying she will comment publicly closer to the end of this term. Two years ago, Berlin was abuzz with news Merkel would step down in the middle of her third term – now. But with no anointed CDU successor in sight, the German leader is unlikely to depart the political stage for some time yet.

High support

If that support holds, it would put the German leader on course for her first absolute majority in the Bundestag.

Interestingly, the Emnid survey gives Merkel and her allies more support than the rest of Germany’s Bundestag parties put together. In 2013, the CDU/CSU narrowly missed out on an absolute majority, resulting in a second grand coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Her junior partner has not benefited from its return to power, according to the poll, and remains stuck almost 20 points behind the CDU/CSU on just 24 per cent. The opposition Greens, meanwhile, are polling 10 per cent and the Left Party has slipped back to 9 per cent. That puts the Bundestag’s centre-left camp at 42 per cent, one point behind the centre-right CDU/CSU.

If this trend holds it could mean Merkel is the only party leader with two coalition options after the 2017 elections: another grand coalition with the SPD or the untested option of a CDU-Green alliance.

Last week, Thorsten Albig, SPD state governor of Schleswig-Holstein, spoke for many in the party for suggesting that his party leader Sigmar Gabriel didn’t have a chance of beating Merkel.

Three-way alliance

That such an alliance is, a quarter century after German unification, “still some way off” was not down to the Linke, according to Dietmar Bartsch, the party’s incoming Bundestag floor co-leader.

The SPD’s stand-offish stance, said Bartsch, meant that “political normality is not being allowed in Germany”. Instead, by keeping its distance from the Linke, the SPD had allowed itself be “imprisoned” in office by the CDU.

“In every other European country a left-wing majority would be used immediately,” he said. “François Hollande would immediately make a coalition with the communists and Trotskyists to rule over the conservatives.”

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