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Social justice ‘key issue’ for German voters

Most Germans regard social justice and fairness as the most important issue for Germany's upcoming general election, a recent poll revealed – something the centre-left opposition is hoping to use to unseat Chancellor Merkel.

Social justice 'key issue' for German voters
Photo: DPA

For 54 percent of voting-age Germans asked by opinion polling association Insa, how a party approached social justice was the most important issue for them in choosing whom to vote for in September.

This was even higher in the over-45 category, in which 60 percent named it as their priority.

Among the smaller parties, this figure was higher still with 80 percent of socialist Left party supporters naming social justice their number one topic. For Green party backers, this was 60 percent, and among Pirate Party fans, 63 percent.

While in the bigger parties, the figures were slightly lower. Primary opposition party the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) has 59 percent of its supporters wanting the most effort to be put into tackling social justice.

Sliding to the right side of the spectrum, 41 percent of the conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) supporters named it as their most important issue while only 22 percent pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) followers did.

Other favoured topics for the 2,008 people asked were healthcare with 31 percent of voters naming it number one. Twenty-nine percent chose tackling unemployment, 28 financial matters, 26 percent family policies and 25 percent education, according to Focus news magazine.

“The topic of social justice is important but it is not the only issue,” said Insa head Hermann Binkert. He added that if all the parties decided to concentrate primarily on this area, the CDU and FDP could damage their support base.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

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CDU

Germany’s centre-right CDU to elect new leadership by end of the year

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party will elect its new leadership by the year's end, general secretary Paul Ziemiak said Monday, detailing plans for a clean slate after a disastrous election that the party lost to the Social Democrats.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

In power for 16 years under Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union is grappling with its deepest crisis in decades after turning in a historic low score in September’s election.

Its leader Armin Laschet last week signalled his readiness to step aside, setting the ball rolling for renewal at the top.

READ ALSO: Laschet signals he’s ready to step down as CDU leader

Ziemiak said a date for the congress to determine the new makeup of the party’s top brass as well as how rank and file members can participate in the leadership selection process will be announced on November 2nd.

But the party’s leaders “today agreed unanimously that we will elect a completely new executive board,” he said, adding that in terms of the calendar, the “window for this is year’s end”.

Bild daily had reported that the party has made a tentative booking for December 6th-13th in Dresden for its possible congress.

READ ALSO: Germany edges a step closer to a government led by Social Democrats

Laschet, who is state premier of Germany’s most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected head of the CDU in January.

For some time, he was the clear favourite to succeed Merkel, who is bowing out of politics after running four consecutive coalitions.

But his party’s ratings began to slide as he committed a series of gaffes, including being caught on camera laughing in the background during a solemn tribute to flood victims.

With the CDU’s ratings plunging, Merkel tried to boost Laschet’s campaign with joint appearances, but was unable to help the conservatives pull off a win on election day.

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