Majority of Germans back early elections, poll says


A majority of German voters back holding early elections, according to a poll taken in the wake of last month’s elections to the European parliament, which caused turmoil in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition. Fifty-two per cent of respondents were in favor of a snap election in the YouGov survey, while just 27 per cent backed continuing with the grand coalition between Merkel’s conservative Christian alliance (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

In the EU elections, support for the Greens soared, putting them in second place behind the CDU/CSU. The SPD, the junior partner in the coalition, saw its support collapse to the lowest level since World War II.

Germany’s Greens have proposed holding coalition talks in the city state of Bremen with the Social Democrats and far-left Linke, in a reminder to Merkel’s conservatives that even if they come first in any elections, they are not guaranteed power. The Greens’ push for a leftist coalition in Bremen is significant because the party, fresh from coming second in May’s European Parliament elections, wants federal elections held if Merkel’s coalition with SPD collapses. That scenario has grown more likely after the SPD suffered twin election setbacks in May, prompting their leader to quit.

In the last national parliament, the SPD, Greens and Linke had more seats than Merkel’s conservative bloc, although policy divisions, especially on foreign affairs, prevented them from forming a federal government. A Forschungsgruppe Wahlen poll for ZDF television released yesterday put support for the Greens at a record 26% nationally, their highest reading in a poll series running back to 1991, and just one point behind Merkel’s conservatives.