Schulz vows to fight ‘until last minute’ in German campaign

Schulz vows to fight ‘until last minute’ in German campaign

24 September 2017 | 08:15 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. Martin Schulz, the main challenger to Angela Merkel, vowed on the eve of Sunday’s German election to “fight until the last minute” as polls predicted a historic defeat for his Social Democrats, Politico reports.
“This isn’t an election day like any other,” Schulz told a campaign rally in the historic center of Aachen in western Germany, close to his hometown of Würselen. “It’s about preventing this country from getting a government of social coldness, a government that does not care about the people.”
With only 21 percent support, according to an Insa poll published Friday, Schulz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) are on course to record their worst national election result in postwar German history. The party lies a distant second to Merkel’s conservative bloc, which stands on 34 percent, although both major parties appear to have lost some support in the final days of the campaign.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is in third place at 13 percent, according to the Insa poll. The far-left Die Linke party stands at 11 percent, the liberal Free Democrats are at 9 percent and the Greens at 8 percent.

Most of Schulz’s speech focused on social justice and shortcomings in the German education, healthcare and elderly care systems. “We will make Germany a fairer place with equal opportunities, regardless your name or origin … [and] equal salaries for men and women,” the SPD leader said.
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Reuters: Germany votes as history beckons for Merkel, and far-right

Reuters: Germany votes as history beckons for Merkel, and far-right

24 September 2017 | 02:04 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. Germans vote in a national election on Sunday that is likely to see Chancellor Angela Merkel win a historic fourth term and a far-right party enter parliament for the first time in more than half a century, Reuters reports.

Merkel’s conservative bloc is on track to remain the largest group in parliament, opinion polls showed before the vote, but a fracturing of the political landscape may well make it harder for her to form a ruling coalition than previously.

With as many as a third of Germans undecided in the run-up to the election, Merkel and her main rival, centre-left challenger Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats (SPD), urged them on Saturday to get out and vote.

“We want to boost your motivation so that we can still reach many, many people,” the chancellor, 63, said in Berlin before heading north to her constituency for a final round of campaigning.

In regional votes last year, Merkel’s conservatives suffered setbacks to the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which profited from resentment at her 2015 decision to leave German borders open to over one million migrants.

Those setbacks made Merkel, a pastor’s daughter who grew up in Communist East Germany, wonder if she should even run for re-election.

But with the migrant issue under control this year, she has bounced back and thrown herself into a punishing campaign schedule, presenting herself as an anchor of stability in an uncertain world.

Visibly happier, Merkel campaigned with renewed conviction: a resolve to re-tool the economy for the digital age, to head off future migrant crises, and to defend a Western order shaken by Donald Trump’s U.S. election victory last November.
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Reuters: Germany's surging far-right promises to disrupt cozy parliament

Reuters: Germany's surging far-right promises to disrupt cozy parliament

23 September 2017 | 05:49 | FOCUS News Agency
MUNICH/POTSDAM. More than 8,000 people -- including hecklers blowing whistles -- showed up in Munich for one of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s final speeches before Sunday’s national election that is expected to sweep her into a fourth term, Reuters reports.
Merkel, whose conservatives have a solid double-digit lead over the Social Democrats, largely ignored jeers from hundreds of left- and right-wing demonstrators to deliver a stump speech focused on stability, security and a promise to avoid tax increases.
“Get lost,” “Merkel must go,” shouted some demonstrators as curious foreign tourists, in Munich for its famous Oktoberfest, snapped photographs of the German leader first elected in 2005.
Merkel, who has faced down similar heckling at many other rallies, especially in the former Communist east, admonished the peaceful but boisterous crowd: “Whistling and yelling certainly won’t ensure the future of our country.”
Merkel defended her 2015 decision to allow in about one million migrants as a humanitarian necessity but said she would prevent a repeat of the migrant crisis by doing more to fund programs in at-risk countries to keep people from fleeing.
“What happened in 2015 cannot and will not be repeated,” Merkel said, saying she would protect Europe’s borders.
At Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt, Merkel’s main rival, SPD leader Martin Schulz urged supporters to make their voices heard, saying that high voter turnout could help offset growing support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Schulz, flanked by hundreds of red balloons, decried the AfD as “gravediggers of democracy,” and said his party, which also opposed the rise of Nazis in the 1930s, would do all it could to fight the anti-immigrant group.
“You are our enemies and we will defend democracy in Germany,” he said. “The more people vote, the smaller will be the share of the far-right.”
Schulz told Bild newspaper he had not given up hope of victory and 37 percent of voters were still undecided.
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