Merkel-led coalition faces tough road in Sunday's elections in Germany

Sept. 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM
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BERLIN, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Polls indicate German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have difficulty building a winning coalition as parliamentary elections draw closer.

Two polls published Thursday found Merkel's coalition held a narrow lead ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections, The New York Times reported. Merkel's Social Democratic challenger, Peer Steinbruck, urged his party to capitalize on what he said was collapsing support for the chancellor and her Christian Democrat party.

"In three days, you can be rid of them," Steinbruck recently told supporters.

A poll conducted for public television network ZDF indicated Merkel's center-right party is backed by 40 percent of voters, while its allied Free Democrats is supported by 6 percent, the Times reported. The center-left Social Democrats earned the backing of 27 percent of voters, while their partner, the Greens, earned 9 percent. The poll surveyed 1,369 voters Tuesday and Wednesday and has a 3 percentage point margin of error.

Another survey conducted for the newspaper Bild-Zeitung indicated Merkel's party had the support of 38 percent of voters, and the Free Democrats had 6 percent backing. Support for the Social Democrats and Greens was 28 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The Bild-Zeitung survey also indicated Alternative for Germany, which rejects the euro, garnered 5 percent, which could be enough to top the threshold necessary to gain entry into Parliament, the Times said. The poll surveyed 2,248 voters Sunday through Wednesday and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

If Merkel wins her third term as Germany's chancellor, there are increasing calls from the business community and others for her to move quickly to address festering domestic problems they say could jeopardize the country's prosperity, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Her supporters say now is the time to fix the problems -- including energy costs, aging infrastructure and education issues -- while the economy is healthy.

"We're living on yesterday's reserves," says Dieter Schweer, an executive with the Federation of German Industries, an industry group traditionally allied with Merkel's Christian Democrats.

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