Merkel Coalition Partners Stuck in Doldrums After Shift to Left

December 24, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

(Bloomberg) — The new leftist leaders of Germany’s Social Democrats have failed to give Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners a lift in the polls.

The SPD were stuck on 13% in the final Insa survey of the year for Bild newspaper, the same as the previous week and down from 20.5% in the most recent general election in 2017. Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc gained one point to 28%, while the SPD again trailed the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany, stable on 21% and 15% respectively.

In an attempt to revive their fortunes, the Social Democrats this month picked Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken as co-leaders, scuppering a rival bid by Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The new team endorsed policy demands as a condition to remain in government that would ease years of fiscal discipline under Merkel and Scholz, boost infrastructure spending, lift the minimum wage and step up efforts to tackle climate change.

But the shift to the left has apparently failed to win back the voters who have abandoned the party in droves over the past decade as the Greens and AfD gained support.

Insa head Hermann Binkert suggested that, as things stand, there’s little point in the SPD putting forward a candidate to take over from Merkel when she finishes her term in 2021 — if her government survives that long.

–With assistance from Chris Reiter.

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