• Germany's news in English

SPD's Müntefering sharpens attacks on Merkel

DDP/The Local · 17 Jun 2009, 11:58

Published: 17 Jun 2009 11:58 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Müntefering’s broadside in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit focused on Merkel’s role in the rescue of troubled automaker Opel. He accused her of supporting the rescue plan, but then praising Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who openly opposed the bailout.

“This double standard is not believable and harms the negotiating ability of the government,” said Müntefering, who is chairman of Merkel's junior coalition partner the centre-left Social Democrats. “If the chancellor first says it is necessary, and then praises Guttenberg as a great guy, that’s dishonest. You can’t simultaneously be for and against something.”

Despite Müntefering’s tough words, the SPD’s prospects continue to worsen, as a new poll showed Wednesday.

The Social Democrats lost another three points, gaining the support of only 21 percent of voters in the Forsa poll for Stern magazine. The results are the worst for the SPD since former party leader Kurt Beck was toppled in a backroom coup in September 2008.

The results also mirror the party’s disastrous performance in the European parliamentary elections on June 7, when the SPD managed to get only 20.8 percent of the vote, its worst showing ever.

The poll was taken before the party's convention on Sunday, where chancellor candidate and current Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave a rousing speech promising to fight hard in the election.

Müntefering said he expects Merkel’s current sky-high popularity to plummet as the September 27 election draws near.

“The chancellor isn’t the ideal campaigner because she’s not a convincing communicator,” Müntefering said.

The SPD chairman said the central theme of the election will be over jobs. He promised active intervention by the state in order to preseve jobs.

But voters don’t seem convinced by the SPD’s message. The Forsa poll showed only 6 percent of those polled thought the party would best handle Germany’s problems while 29 percent thought Merkel conservatives would do a better job.

Story continues below…

Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union and their Bavarian allies the Christian Social Union fell one point, garnering 35 percent support. The Union’s preferred coalition partner, the free-market Free Democratic Party, gained one percentage point to reach 15 percent support, giving a hypothetical coalition between the two the 50 percent majority needed to form a government.

The Green party gained two points to reach a 2009 high of 13 percent support. The Left party, comprised of former East German communists and disenchanted SPD members picked up one more point to reach 11 percent.

A left-leaning coalition of the Greens, Left Party and SPD would only pull in 45 percent of the vote, according to the poll.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd