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POLITICS

Social Democrats reach all-time low

A poll released on Tuesday by German weekly Stern reveals that the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) continue to lose popularity, reaching an all-time low for the second time in two weeks at 22 percent.

Public support has been diminishing for the Social Democrats as it becomes more entrenched in controversy centred on a possible SPD partnership with the hard-line socialist Left Party. The poll, conducted by German association for social research Forsa, showed that SPD popularity sank one percentage point from last week, resulting in the lowest party approval rating Forsa has ever measured for the party.

Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered a loss of one point, though the party still remains 15 percentage points ahead of the SPD with support of 37 percent.

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) improved by one percent to reach a total of 11 percent. Meanwhile the Left Party rose to 14 percent, and the Greens stayed at 11 percent.

SPD party leader Kurt Beck was unable to stop further loss of his popularity, despite his reappearance after two weeks out sick. Only 12 percent of those polled said they would directly elect him as chancellor – one percentage point lower than last week, the poll reported. Only 35 percent of the SPD supporters polled said they would vote for him.

Some 58 percent of poll participants said they would reelect current Chancellor Merkel, including 22 percent of those who support the SPD.

POLITICS

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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