Support for Germany’s Greens falls, hurting chances of leftist coalition

The Forsa poll

Support for Germany’s opposition Greens has fallen to its lowest level in almost 15 years, a Forsa poll showed on Wednesday (19 April), dimming prospects for a left-leaning coalition snatching power from Chancellor Angela Merkel in the September election.

The survey, commissioned by Stern and broadcaster RTL, showed the Greens shedding one point to 6% – it’s lowest reading in that poll since August 2002. That leaves it hovering just above the 5% threshold that parties need to enter the national parliament.

Another survey by pollster INSA published on Wednesday also showed the Greens at 6% – behind the Free Democrats (FDP) who were at 6.5%, on track to return to parliament after crashing out of it in the 2013 election.

Some polls have suggested that a left-leaning ‘red-red-green’ alliance of the Social Democrats (SPD), the far-left Die Linke party and the environmentalist Greens could emerge after the 24 September election.

The Forsa survey showed Merkel’s CDU unchanged compared with the previous week, at 36%, while the Social Democrats remained at 30%.

The SPD has picked up since naming Martin Schulz as its candidate to run against Merkel.

But even support for Schulz seems to be waning – the Forsa survey showed support for Schulz under the 30% level in that poll for the first time since being nominated as the SPD’s candidate. If there were a direct vote for chancellor, 29% would pick him – 3 percentage points below the previous week’s level.

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That compares with 44% of Germans who would vote for Merkel in such a direct vote – 1 point more than last week.

Die Linke gained one point to 9%. It also improved by half a percentage point in the INSA survey to 9%.

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) was unchanged in both surveys, at 8% in the Forsa survey and 10% in the INSA survey. The party has lost momentum as migrant arrivals have dropped, and infighting has taken hold.

Petry quits election race

Frauke Petry, co-leader of the AfD, said yesterday she would not lead her party at the election – a surprising move that could play into the hands of established parties.

The AfD's 'perjury' problem

Sometimes an accusation is all that’s required. Under investigation on Wednesday (25 May) for lying under oath to the Saxon state parliament, for Frauke Petry’s critics the allegation could not have been more apt. Suspected of covering up loans made to her Alternative fuer Deutschland party, the right-wing politician could face up to five years in prison for perjury.

Petry’s announcement came after she caused controversy by tabling a motion for a congress next weekend in which she said the AfD – which is shunned by other parties – should be ready to join coalitions in future. She said some other senior AfD members like Alexander Gauland, however, wanted it to be a “fundamental” opposition party.

Petry is a 41-year-old chemist from the former Communist East Germany and is expecting her fifth child.

Petry’s camp wants to expel a senior member of the party, Bjoern Hoecke, for calling Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial a “monument of shame” and saying history books should be re-written to focus more on German victims of the Nazis.

Outrage over German populist's call to end Nazi guilt

A leading member of German right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland sparked an outcry Wednesday (18 January) by criticising the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and calling for the country to stop atoning for its Nazi past.

Petry managed to secure a two-thirds majority on the party executive board in favour of expelling Hoecke. However, the far-right wing of the AfD supports him and a party arbitration board must now decide his fate.