Merkel still ‘most popular politician’ in Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel is still Germany's top politician and her party is doing very well too, according to a new survey.

Merkel still 'most popular politician' in Germany
Angela Merkel on June 24th. Photo: DPA

Merkel's handling of the coronavirus crisis has been praised across the world.  And it appears it's also being recognised by voters in Germany.

Merkel's party, the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), and its Bavarian sister party the CSU, increased in popularity among voters to 40 percent, according to a new poll – the highest amount in almost three years.

The CDU and CSU last achieved a similarly strong figure in August 2017, before the federal election campaign began. During this time, the Union managed to gain 32.9 percent.

In the latest ZDF 'Politbarometer' published on Friday, the Union's new result was an improvement by one percent compared to previous weeks.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) remain at 15 percent, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) at nine percent, and the Left Party (die Linke) at seven percent. The Greens lost one point, gaining 19 percent.

And the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) gained one point to log five percent.

Meanwhile, Merkel remains by far the most popular politician in Germany. On a scale of plus five to minus five, she improved slightly to 2.6 points, followed by CSU leader Markus Söder with 1.9, and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) with 1.8.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) gained ground and passed North Rhine-Westphalia's state premier, Armin Laschet. The candidate for the CDU chief position lost points slightly, landing at 0.5.

Overwhelming majority for stricter laws for slaughterhouses

Meanwhile, according to the survey, the vast majority of citizens in Germany are in favour of stricter regulation of slaughterhouses, even if this results in higher prices of meat.

READ ALSO: Germany fights to control coronavirus outbreak at meat plant

A huge 92 percent of those surveyed would support stricter industry laws, according to the ZDF poll. However, only 55 percent of those questioned believed that citizens were generally prepared to spend more money on meat.

Following several outbreaks of coronavirus in meat processing plants, cheap prices for meat products in supermarkets and working conditions in industry are under massive criticism.

READ ALSO: Explained – What you need to know about Germany's new local coronavirus lockdown

Doubts over new app

The new coronavirus app has been downloaded millions of times – but according to the survey, confidence in its effectiveness is relatively low.

Only 38 percent believe that this app will make a major contribution to limiting the pandemic in Germany, the ZDF survey shows.

 Supporters of the Greens (62 percent), the FDP (70 percent) and the AfD (90 percent) are particularly critical of the app.

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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.