Merkel government enjoys mass popularity

Fifty-nine percent of Germans are happy with the current black-red coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD.

Merkel government enjoys mass popularity
Chancellor Merkel is enjoying unprecedented popularity. Photo:DPA

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The government is enjoying the highest level of popularity in the history of the Infratest survey for Die Welt and ARD, the newspaper reported Friday.

As well as being popular as a team, the government also enjoys good individual approval ratings.

Seventy-four percent of people were happy with Chancellor Angela Merkel's performance, her best score since 2007.

And Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier achieved an equal rating among the public.

The pair handily outstripped their colleagues including Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (65 percent approval) and SPD leader and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (50 percent approval).

The government's popularity can mostly be explained by the huge support among the coalition parties' most faithful voters, with 76 percent of CDU voters and 69 percent of SPD followers giving the alliance top marks.

A majority of Green party supporters were also satisfied with the Merkel team's performance.

The coalition parties remain in similar overall positions to those they held at the elections in September 2013. If there were an election on Sunday, 41 percent of people said they would vote for the CDU/CSU while 26 percent would choose the SPD.

The Greens and the FDP each lost one point, reaching ten and three respectively.

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Germany’s Schröder to remain in Social Democrats despite Putin ties

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will remain a member of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD), the party said Monday, finding his ties with Vladimir Putin did not breach its rules.

Germany's Schröder to remain in Social Democrats despite Putin ties

The SPD’s Hanover branch said Schröder, whose party membership falls under its umbrella, was “not guilty of a violation of the party rules, as no violation can be proven against him”.

The branch had opened a hearing in July to discuss 17 motions from local and regional chapters against Schroeder’s ongoing membership of the party.

The decision can be appealed, but legal experts say there are high hurdles for expelling members.

Schröder, chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has refused to turn his back on Putin despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His stance has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Social Democrats move to dispel Schröder over Putin ties

He has also been widely criticised for holding a number of lucrative posts at Russian energy giants, and it was only after much public pressure that Schröder in May gave up his seat on the board of Russian energy group Rosneft.

He later also announced he would not be joining Gazprom’s supervisory board as initially planned.

Germany’s parliament in May removed some of the perks Schröder was entitled to as an elder statesman, stripping him of an office and staff.

Schröder, 78, who was Angela Merkel’s immediate predecessor, has remained defiant and met with Putin in Moscow in July.

In an interview after the visit, he claimed Russia wanted a “negotiated solution” to the war – comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Schröder has also called on Berlin to reconsider its position on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which stands completed but was blocked by the German government in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine.