After Merkel it’s about ‘lesser evil’ in German election By Reuters
© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel moves during a news conference in Tirana Business Park with Edi Rama, the Albanian Prime Minister, on September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo
By Paul Carrel and Tomasz Janowski
BERLIN (Reuters) – Call it the Angela Merkel effect. German voters seem to be unable, less than two weeks prior to a national election.
A survey by Allensbach institute https://reut.rs/3z5nOHr for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper showed this week that a record 40% of those planning to vote on Sept. 26 have not yet decided how, with most saying they were just not drawn to any of the contenders.
Janis Schulz (35), from North Rhine-Westphalia said, “None is convincing” while she smoked a cigarette near the Brandenburg Gate, during a Berlin holiday.
“Even though you know the names of those with whom you are voting, it is probable that they will form a government coalition,” he said. It’s even more difficult now that Merkel is gone. Merkel brought peace to Europe and Germany.
Merkel, who has been in power for 16 years, led Europe’s biggest economy through the crisis of global finance, refugee crisis, and the current coronavirus pandemic. This gave the German people a sense of security.
Armin, Merkel’s successor in the Christian Democrats conservative Christian Democrats and Olaf Scholz from Social Democrat are promising to provide more stability. However, their respective parties have only managed to poll around 20 percent.
The Greens are currently third after losing momentum. They had an excellent start to their campaign, with their focus on climate change appealing to younger voters.
‘STUCK IN THE MIDDLE’
A separate Reuters survey showed that while a record number of voters chose to mail in their ballots this year, a majority of them continued to sit on the fence and had yet to send them.
This uncertainty has not resulted in large gains for fringe parties or the Alternative for Germany, a far-right party. This uncertainty does not seem to have deterred Germans from voting. Allensbach surveyed 87% of respondents and found that they are planning to vote. Many also stated they trust no one, but would choose a “lesser” evil.
“Usually, I vote in protest but I won’t vote this time. Schulz stated that every vote is important this time.
After Merkel’s 2015 decision to allow almost one million refugees to enter Germany, the AfD exploded onto the national stage in 2017.
It is now polling around 10%. However, Carsten Nickel, Teneo’s managing director, stated that the party appears to still be focused on a single issue and one event.
Merkel may not be seeking another term but she is still a major factor in the decision of voters to determine who will shape Germany’s future and who they believe would be the best successor. This choice can feel important, yet frustrating.
Nickel stated that voters see either candidates who claim to be more like them or people who seem very clumsy and find themselves in the middle.