• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Fire for Merkel's 'feel-good' election plan

The Local · 24 Jun 2013, 14:08

Published: 24 Jun 2013 14:08 GMT+02:00

The opposition Social Democrats – who are seeking to rule with the Greens party but are badly trailing Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the polls – predictably labelled the conservative party manifesto a "fairytale book".

But even Merkel's Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler, head of junior coalition partners the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), also charged that the campaign-mode CDU had succumbed to the "sweet poison of spending."

The CDU's own pro-business wing also voiced doubts the tens of billions of euros in pledges would be met.

"It's practise in this country to make election promises before the polls which are then, in the government and coalition negotiations, made redundant," said the head of the party's economic council, Kurt Lauk.

"Voters have known for 50 years that this is how it works," he added in stunningly frank comments on ARD public television.

Merkel, who first presented the programme Sunday with the CDU's Bavarian sister party the CSU, was seeking to maximise exposure by speaking again before some 650 delegates Monday as campaigning heats up for the September 22nd poll.

Unlike her opponents, Merkel has promised not to raise taxes and to balance the budget, with no new debt from 2015, saying on Sunday that "we cannot keep living at the expense of future generations."

Gero Neugebauer, political scientist at Berlin's Free University, said Merkel had co-opted most of the Social Democratic Party's (SPD) signature issues, from steps to cap inner-city rental increases to promoting the status of women in business, depriving her opponents of campaign issues while seeking to capture the political centre.

"The party is trying to turn into a movement," said Neugebauer, almost solely focused on its star politician Merkel.

"Merkel's role is the promise of credibility," Neugebauer said about the chancellor who is consistently chosen in polls as Germany's most popular politician for what many voters see as a no-nonsense and pragmatic leadership style.

"But the task of turning the promises into reality will be that of [Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schäuble," added Neugebauer, who cautioned that the 120-page manifesto is peppered with "ifs" and that many pledges are predicated on a humming economy and healthy finances.

The SPD's top candidate Peer Steinbrück, Merkel's former finance minister in a grand coalition government, on Monday dismissed the CDU programme as "platitudes and empty promises."

Story continues below…

"There are no proposals on how to finance these crazy promises," charged Steinbrück, who also said the CDU had written its programme in an "undemocratic, top-down" way without rank-and-file participation.

The mass-circulation Bild daily in a commentary said the programme was the most Social Democratic, Green and cautious the CDU had ever campaigned with, designed to keep the door open for almost any potential coalition partner.

"Strictly speaking, the CDU/CSU could boil down their programme into three points," the paper said. "1. Merkel. 2. Keep it up. 3. Keep it up with Merkel."

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record as wins Berlin marathon
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,644
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd