German elections: Is Merkel losing ground or Shultz is winning?

merkel-schulz

Visit of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC, to Germany                                        Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz (from left to right) Date: 12/05/2016. Location: Berlin – European House. © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Adam Berry

Martin Schulz’s candidacy for Chancellor has changed the balance in the German elections as polls show that Angela Merkel and the Christian Democrats (CDU) are left in the second place after the Social Democrats (SPD).

The polls which are conducted by the Emnid institute and by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for broadcaster ZDF reveal a clear lead of the SPD party and Martin Schulz as the next Chancellor. These results must be a surprise even for the warmest supporters of SPD party which hasn’t won an election for the last fifteen years.

However, it is still too early to judge the outcome of the German federal elections based on just opinion polls the moment that Martin Schulz’s policy is yet unknown. Besides, opinion polls have been wrong both at the U.S. Presidency and the UK-EU referendum votes.

Opinion polls at a glance

The opinion poll by YouGov published on February 13 showed that 64% of Germans would like a new chancellor. Only 19% supported that it was probably best for Angela Merkel to stay at her position with 8% to say that she should definitely be the German Chancellor.

Another poll held out by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for broadcaster ZDF showed that 49% of the German voters want Schulz to be their next Chancellor while 38% prefer Merkel to stay in office. That is a remarkable turnaround if one thinks that the same poll at the end of January had shown that Merkel had 44% while Schulz only 40%.

The Emnid poll which was conducted on 1.885 voters gave the SPD 33% of the vote while the Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union would win 32%. According to Reuters, the SPD has gained 12 points in the last four weeks, when Martin Schulz was named as its candidate to run against Merkel in the federal elections.

Shultz gains ground but untill when?

In less than a month, Martin Schulz has managed to increase the popularity of the Social Democrats and put them in lead position against CDU/CSU coalition in the German elections on September 24. One of the reasons for the latter seems to be that the former president of the European Parliament is a new political figure in the German political arena.

It is a fact that the Social Democrats’ candidate will be a strong opponent for Angela Merkel but how long will this popularity last? Is it because Martin Schulz is providing some added value to the German politics and to the SPD or the current Chancellor has lost her popularity during the last years?

It is known that Martin Schulz is not experienced in German politics as has been only a mayor of Würselen, a small German town. Nevertheless Schulz is a European politics expert and has promised to fight right-wing populism and campaign for social justice which has boosted his popularity.

Merkel fights hard for her fourth term

The decision of Mrs Merkel to open the German borders to thousands of refugees during 2015 has decreased her popularity to the CSU party and to the German voters.

However, the German Chancellor continues supporting displaced immigrants and particularly Angela Merkel mentioned at the Munich security conference last weekend that the EU should take refugees from Syria and Iraq as ‘Islam is not the source of terror”.

What is more, Greece is struggling to find common grounds with its EU creditors since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not want to financially participate to the programme initially. Therefore, Angela Merkel is likely to intervene in order to convince the IMF at the separate meetings that are scheduled today with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The last thing that the Chancellor wants now is a possible Grexit which would be devastating not only for Europe but also for her political career.

Who is going to be next Chancellor?

As in every European country, right-wing parties have increased their popularity in Germany too during the last years. Thus, German people are attempting now to find a political leader who could bring prosperity to the already most prosperous country in Europe.

All in all, Martin Schulz is a person that Germans would believe since he is new and has not been timeworn. But he is not someone chosen because of his skills, but rather voted due to the fact that people think that Merkel is not doing her job very well. Also, it is quite difficult to believe that Schulz’s policy would be a lot different from Merkel´s.

Opinion polls lately around the world have shown that are not creditworthy and should not be taken into such a mindful consideration after all. The recent outcomes of Brexit and Donald Trup corroborate this fact. It is thus the average opinion of the German citizen that Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz will be influencing in the coming months in order for the next Chancellor to be elected.

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