SPD launches poll bid against Merkel

SPD launches poll bid against Merkel

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
SPD launches poll bid against Merkel

Steinbrueck is behind Merkel in the individual popularity stakes. REUTERS photo

Germany’s opposition Social Democrats will make their move on Dec. 9 by launching their campaign to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel next year, throwing their backing behind her former finance minister to challenge her.

Delegates from the center-left SPD party gather in the northern city of Hanover to formally hand Peer Steinbrueck, 65, the unenviable task of beating the hugely popular Merkel, often called the world’s most powerful woman.

Polls show the size of the challenge ahead of him to beat the conservative Merkel, 58, who is riding a wave of personal and party support for her firm approach in the euro zone crisis.
Surveys consistently put Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) around 10 points ahead of the SPD and a Forsa poll published recently suggested Steinbrueck is also a long way behind her in the individual popularity stakes.

Germans do not directly elect their chancellor but if they could, 50 percent would plump for Merkel and only 26 percent would vote for Steinbrueck in the election expected in September, the poll showed.
Steinbrueck’s drive for chancellor has started disastrously with a stream of bad press, notably over revelations he had pocketed some 1.25 million euros in fees for making speeches at private functions.
SPD’s general secretary Andrea Nahles said the central themes of the SPD election campaign would be gender equality, health, education and tax policy.