Merkel makes final push for successor in Germany's knife-edge polls

Merkel makes final push for successor in Germany's knife-edge polls

25/9/2021 3:39:00 PM

Merkel makes final push for successor in Germany's knife-edge polls

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday (Sep 25) urged Germans to give her would-be successor Armin Laschet the vote to shape Germany\u0027s future, in a last-ditch push to shore up his beleaguered campaign 24 hours before Germans vote. Laschet, 60, has been trailing his Social Democrat challenger Olaf Sch

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday (Sep 25) urged Germans to give her would-be successor Armin Laschet the vote to shape Germany's future, in a last-ditch push to shore up his beleaguered campaign 24 hours before Germans vote.Laschet, 60, has been trailing his Social Democrat challenger Olaf Scholz in the race for the chancellery, although final polls put the gap between them within the margin of error, making the vote one of the most unpredictable in recent years.

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Merkel had planned to keep a low profile in the election battle as she prepares to bow out of politics after 16 years in power. But she has found herself dragged into the frantic campaign schedule of the unpopular chairman of her party, Laschet.In the last week of the campaign, Merkel took Laschet to her constituency by the Baltic coast and on Friday headlined the closing rally gathering the conservatives' bigwigs in Munich.

Merkel tugged at the heartstrings of Germany's predominantly older electorate on Friday, calling on them to keep her conservatives in power for the sake of stability - a trademark of Germany."To keep Germany stable, Armin Laschet must become chancellor, and the CDU and CSU must be the strongest force," she said. headtopics.com

A day before the vote, she travelled to Laschet's hometown and constituency Aachen, a spa city near Germany's western border with Belgium and the Netherlands, where he was born and still lives."It is about your future, the future of your children and the future of your parents," she said, urging strong mobilisation for her conservative alliance.

She underlined that climate protection will be a key challenge of the next government, but said this would not be achieved"simply through rules and regulations"."For that we need new technological developments, new procedures, researchers, interested people who think about how that can be done, and people who participate," she said.

"To keep Germany stable, Armin Laschet must become chancellor," Merkel said, refering to the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader. (Photo: AFP)Finance Minister and the Social Democratic Party's candidate, Olaf Scholz, (centre) has sold himself as the "continuity candidate". (Photo: AFP)

Candidates for the general election Alice Weidel (AfD), Christian Lindner (FDP), Markus Soeder (CSU), Armin Laschet (CDU), Annalena Baerbock (Greens), Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Janine Wissler (Die Linke) attend a final televised debate ahead of the election in Berlin, Germany on Sep 23, 2021. (Photo: Tobias Schwarz via REUTERS) headtopics.com

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Laschet is a"bridge-builder who will get people on board" in shaping Germany to meet those challenges, she said.Hundreds of thousands of people had descended on the streets on Friday urging change and greater climate protection, with a leading activist calling Sunday's election the vote"of a century".

"COULD BACKFIRE"With the clock ticking down to the election, Scholz was also staying close to home at the other end of the country to chase down last votes.Scholz will be holding"dialogues on the future" with voters in his constituency of Potsdam - a city on the outskirts of Berlin famous for its palaces that once housed Prussian kings.

Scholz, currently finance minister in Merkel's coalition government, has avoided making mistakes on the campaign trail, and largely won backing as he sold himself as the"continuity candidate" after Merkel in place of Laschet.Also on the campaign trail on Friday, Scholz demanded a"fresh start for Germany" and"a change of government" after 16 years under Merkel.

Described as capable but boring, Scholz has consistently beaten Laschet by wide margins when it comes to popularity. Read more: CNA »

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