• Germany's news in English

Minority chancellor a 'problem' for many voters

The Local · 13 Feb 2013, 10:51

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

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
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