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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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ANGELA MERKEL

Former German chancellor Angela Merkel wins UN refugee prize

Former German chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday won the United Nations refugee agency's prestigious Nansen Award, receiving praise for her determination to protect asylum seekers while in office.

Former German chancellor Angela Merkel wins UN refugee prize

Pointing to the more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers welcomed by Germany in 2015 and 2016, at the height of migrant crisis sparked especially by the war in Syria, the UNHCR selection committee hailed Merkel’s “leadership, courage and compassion.”

At the time, the woman who lead the German government for 16 years said the situation “put our European values to the test as seldom before. It was no more and no less than a humanitarian imperative.”

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi hailed Merkel’s determination to protect asylum seekers and to stand up for human rights, humanitarian principles and international law.

“By helping more than a million refugees to survive and rebuild, Angela Merkel displayed great moral and political courage,” he said in a statement.

“It was true leadership, appealing to our common humanity, standing firm against those who preached fear and discrimination,” he said.

“She showed what can be achieved when politicians take the right course of action and work to find solutions to the world’s challenges rather than simply shift responsibility to others.”

READ ALSO: Five years on: How well did Germany handle the refugee crisis?

The selection committee highlighted that in addition to protecting people forced to flee war, Merkel was the driving force behind Germany’s collective efforts to receive them and help them integrate into society.

The Nansen Award, awarded annually, was created in 1954 in honour of the first UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norwegian Arctic explorer and  humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen, to mark outstanding work on behalf of refugees.

Merkel will receive her award and the $150,000 in prize money at a ceremony in Geneva on October 10th, where four regional winners will also be honoured.

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