• Germany's news in English
 

Minority chancellor a 'problem' for many voters

Published: 13 Feb 2013 10:51 GMT+01:00

The vast majority of Germans have no issue with Vice Chancellor and Free Democrat Party (FDP) leader Philipp Rösler's ethnic Vietnamese background, a survey by YouGov published on Tuesday suggested.

The poll comes a less than a week after FDP politician and deputy state premier of Hesse Jörg-Uwe Hahn caused a stir by questioning whether German voters would not accept a "an Asian-looking vice chancellor" for much longer.

Hahn's comments prompted a debate over latent racism in German society after several FDP politicians also said they had often heard voters make racist comments about Rösler.

Yet according to YouGov, just 11 percent of Germans surveyed would describe Finance Minister Rösler's background as "problematic", against 79 percent who said it made no difference to them.

However, for many voters the idea of being ruled by a German chancellor of foreign extraction would be a step too far, figures suggest.

Twenty nine percent said they would not like it if the top spot was given to an ethnic non-German, compared with 11 percent who would welcome it and 46 percent who said they did not mind either way.

Voters would be similarly skeptical about a gay leader, the survey suggested, with 26 percent of participants saying they would not support one. Meanwhile 14 percent said they liked the idea, whereas for the majority - 46 percent - the chancellor's sexuality did not matter.

Interestingly, though a majority said they personally did not have a problem with Rösler's ethnicity, 22 percent said they thought it had a negative effect on the FDP's chances in September's parliamentary election.

Among FDP supporters, this number was lower; with seven percent saying having a party leader of Vietnamese extraction was a problem and 15 percent believing it worsened the party's chances.

The survey polled 1,047 German voters between 8th and 12th February.

DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:04 February 13, 2013 by sonriete
These poll results don't surprise me. Like everywhere else I think the German media and political class is a lot more liberal than the general public. If anything else, people tend to not admit racism to pollsters, anyone of them who did not answer that they "welcomed" the prospect are probably in the opposed category, that is why it is useful to include the "mushy middle" option so those who are opposed but won't say so can decline to say they would welcome it, how can one not welcome it but not be to some degree be opposed?
19:38 February 13, 2013 by George16
So, come on. A nice list of minority ministers we already have: wheel chair, openly gay, women, Bavarians, East Germans, French and Polish origin names. And on top we used to have a half Scotsman as prime minister in Niedersachsen state...
22:53 February 13, 2013 by Englishted
Well they were not always so close minded, if you assume Austrian's were a ethnic minority at some point.
00:19 February 14, 2013 by pepsionice
We are probably only thirty years away from some German who was born in the US....becoming Chancellor.
10:28 February 14, 2013 by Tonne
I'm guessing that they are not so much worried about his ethnicity as they are about his competence as a leader of the FDP and a minister.
Today's headlines
'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year
They may be collecting for charity, but this is not really OK. Photo: DPA

'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year

"Blackfacing", used by Germans to describe white people painting their skin dark to mimic black people, has been named Anglicism of the Year by a jury of linguists. READ  

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps
File photo: DPA

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps

For 20 years no-one noticed that the head of the drug squad in Kempten, Bavaria, was on a personal rampage of narcotics- and domestic abuse - until his wife shopped him for the €250,000 brick of cocaine he had stashed. But the local population isn't buying the story. READ  

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'
Photo: DPA

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday and wished him "much strength and success" after his anti-austerity party's election victory. READ  

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014
Swastika graffiti at a refugee home in Bavaria with text reading "No asylum seekers". Photo: DPA

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014

Refugee NGOs' first annual report on violence against asylum seekers found that there were over 200 attacks on people and accommodation in 2014. READ  

'No German identity without Auschwitz'
President Gauck addressing the Bundestag on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

'No German identity without Auschwitz'

President Joachim Gauck on Tuesday warned Germans against drawing a line under the Holocaust as the Bundestag (parliament) opened a day of commemorations on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. READ  

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double
Manuel Neuer at the inauguration of his double in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double

Madame Tussauds' hottest new effigy was unveiled to the public in Berlin on Tuesday, costing a euro for each of the 150,000 hairs on keeper Manuel Neuer's head. Pity about the handball goal frame though… READ  

Railway union threatens strike over €2
EVG members outside a station during a 2013 strike. Photo: DPA

Railway union threatens strike over €2

As railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) continues negotiations with train drivers' union GDL, its other major union EVG has threatened a strike over pay differences between employees. READ  

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000
Photo: DPA

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

As Pegida supporters and opponents clashed in Hanover, musicians threw a free concert in central Dresden on Monday evening to show another side to the city famous for spawning the anti-Islam movement. READ  

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz
"Work will set you free," the gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells inmates. Photo: DPA

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz

Chancellor Angela Merkel joined survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Berlin on Monday to open a series of events dedicated to the end of the Holocaust camp regime 70 years ago. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Work I love and a rewarding family life'
Working mum photo: Shutterstock

'Work I love and a rewarding family life'

Melanie Fieseler is a British business/career consultant and coach, and founder of Berlin-based WorkSmart. She is on a mission to help ambitious mums like herself successfully combine motherhood with building a fulfilling and rewarding career or business. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,806
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd