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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

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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