'If things go Johanna Uekermann’s way, she will wake up on 25 September to the news that Martin Schulz has soundly beaten Angela Merkel in the German elections.
“The era of Europe-wide austerity policies à la Merkel and [Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister] could finally become a thing of the past,” said the 29-year-old leader of the JuSos, the Social Democratic party’s (SPD) youth organisation.
For the second week running, a poll published on Wednesday by Germany’s Forsa institute put the SPD on a five-year high with 31% of the vote, just three percentage points behind Merkel’s Christian Democrats. Another survey, also by Forsa, found that in a theoretical direct vote for the chancellorship, Schulz would win 37% of the vote to Merkel’s 38%.
Another poll published last week saw Schulz’s party overtake the conservatives to become the strongest political force in the country.
The emergence of a US president openly critical of German economic and social policies has led some to call for a more combative stance towards Donald Trump’s government than the course of critical distance pursued by Merkel. In an interview in the new edition of Der Spiegel, Schulz described Trump as a “profound” threat to democratic values who was “gambling with the security of the western world”.
Asked how he would deal with Trump as Germany’s chancellor, Schulz responded by praising Germany’s liberal constitution. “As the leader of such a country I have to pursue a combative approach to all those that question this free, open and tolerant model of a society,” he said.
But many, even on the German left, view their current high with suspicion. If there was a broad leftwing majority at the 2013 German elections, when the SPD, Greens and Left party collectively gained 42.7% of the vote, that majority has crumbled just as the centre-left and far-left parties have taken first steps to overcome their historic animosity.'
'Russia's newest target is German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a major defender of Western democratic values in Europe, has become the target of a Russian campaign to derail her bid for re-election this year.
Merkel is up for re-election in September for her fourth term. Russian media is mounting a fierce campaign to defeat Merkel because it apparently sees her as a threat.
“The main aim of the Russians is to get rid of Angela Merkel, who is making the last stand in Europe to maintain the sanctions against Russia for its seizure of Crimea, and because of its war in Ukraine,” said Richard Herzinger, an opinion writer for the German conservative newspaper, Die Welt.
Germany's spy agencies, however, have not found any proof that Russia is meddling with the German presidential election.'
Besieged from left and right,she's still favourite.