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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Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.