Three-quarters of Germans think new CDU leader Laschet 'not suitable choice for Chancellor'
Following bitter losses for the Christian Democrats (CDU) in two state elections, pressure is growing on the new CDU leader and possible candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet. A new survey shows that the North Rhine-Westphalian state premier is falling short of expectations.
According to a new survey, the majority of Germans do not consider Laschet a suitable candidate for German Chancellor in federal elections set to be held on September 26th. Current Chancellor Angela Merkel will be stepping down after a 16-year reign.
A full 73.1 percent of respondents do not consider the state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia to be the right candidate in light of the lagging CDU election results, according to a survey conducted by the Civey institute. Only 14.7 percent of respondents were in favour of Laschet.
On Sunday Merkel’s CDU garnered just 24 percent of the vote in the wealthy state of Baden-Württemberg, down from 27 percent five years ago, results showed.
In neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate, popular state premier Malu Dreyer powered the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) to another victory with a score of around 36 percent.
The CDU slumped to around 28 percent, down from almost 32 percent in 2016.
Sunday’s low results were blamed on voter frustration over a sluggish vaccine rollout, a delayed start to mass rapid testing and higher infection numbers despite months of shutdowns.
Lack of support among CDU supporters
This could explain why, according to the survey, Laschet also has little support among CDU supporters themselves. Among those surveyed who plan to vote for the CDU in the next election, 72.5 percent believe the 60-year-old is not the right candidate for chancellor of the CDU/CSU.
Only 16.4 percent think Laschet is the right man. For the survey, 5,080 population-representative participants were interviewed between March 14th and 15th.
A soft-spoken political moderate with a reputation for pragmatism, Laschet has previously come under scrutiny for controversial comments regarding the coronavirus and its management.
In February, he took a stab at Merkel government's coronavirus strategy, urging it not to “treat citizens like helpless children” and in came under fire in January after accusing eastern Europeans of "importing" new Covid-19 cases to Germany.
Laschet had prevailed in January in the race for the CDU presidency against former CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz and CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen.
The conservative candidate for German chancellor is likely to be named soon after Easter, with the other possible candidate being CSU leader and Bavarian state premiere Markus Söder.