Merkel shock: CDU’s election gloom underlines Germany’s ‘difficult situation’, says expert

Angela Merkel: Political expert discusses approval rating

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Dr Louis Perron, a Switzerland-based political scientist and consultant., was speaking as Voters in Baden-Wurttemberg, traditionally a CDU stronghold and Rhineland-Palatinate prepared to head to the polls. A survey carried out by Civey on behalf of Spiegel last week suggested the CDU was lagging behind in both regions.

In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens are projected to get roughly 32 percent of the vote, with the CDU on 24 percent.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, the SPD is on 31 percent with the CDU one point behind on 30. By way of comparison, five years ago the SPD won just over 36 percent and the CDU just under 32.

Dr Perron said the elections would give an indication of the mood of the country in advance of September’s crunch federal elections.

He told Express.co.uk: “Whoever succeeds Merkel or she will definitely inherit a difficult situation, but that is not unique to Germany.

What is particular here is that Merkel has governed for almost 16 years and when she stands down, she will leave a huge void

Louis Perron

“What is particular here is that Merkel has governed for almost 16 years and when she stands down, she will leave a huge void.”

He explained: “Both the CDU and the country are in desperate need of renewal.

“A bad showing of the CDU could demoralise the troops at the national level going into the nationwide campaign in September.

“In other words: the effect would be mostly internal to the party.

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All of which was unlikely to have much bearing on Mrs Merkel’s decision to walk away German politics, Dr Perron stressed.

He said: “Although as to whether Merkel cares, I don’t know – she will step down anyway.

“But the good news for the CDU is that even if they lose, they would have to lose dramatically in order not to be the biggest party at the national level anymore.

“In other words: It is highly likely that the next Chancellor will be from the ranks of the CDU anyways.”

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As for the left-leaning Social Democrats, he added: “The SPD is also part of the national coalition.

“If they win in Rheinland-Palatinate, it gives them a day of good press, which is desperately needed.

“But the party has much more fundamental problems to deal with.”

The struggles both major parties are facing may be a reflection of the frustration many Germans feel at the sluggish pace of Germany’s vaccine rollout.

As of Friday, Germany had administered 10.58 doses per 100 people, well behind the UK’s figure of 36.47, according to the Our World in Data website.

On Saturday, the number of COVID-19 cases rose by 12,674 and the death toll was up 239, with the number of cases per 100,000 over seven days jumping to 76.1 from 72.4.

Germany’s death toll currently stands at 73,301, with a reported 2,558,455 COVID-19 infections.

German health experts yesterday warned against further easing of coronavirus lockdown measures as the number of cases jumped again as a result of the spread of the more infectious variant first detected in the UK.

Karl Lauterbach, health expert for the Social Democrats, told the Augsburger Allgemeine: “We can only have more relaxation if there are stable or falling case numbers.”

The number of COVID-19 cases have been rising again for the last few weeks as some restrictions have been lifted.

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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