publish date 2021-09-25 23:29:55
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged voters on Saturday to vote for her coalition candidate Armin Laschet to shape Germany’s future, in a last-ditch effort to shore up his campaign 24 hours before polling begins.
Laschet, 60, is in second place behind his Social Democrat rival Olaf Scholz to win the chancellorship, although final polls indicate that the difference between them is limited to a margin of error, which makes the election the most ambiguous in years.
Merkel planned to keep a low profile in the election battle as she prepares to withdraw from the political arena after 16 years in power. But she found herself compelled to enter the campaign program of her party’s leader, Laschet, who is not widely popular.
In the final week of the election campaign, Merkel escorted her party’s candidate to her constituency on the Baltic Sea while on Friday at the head of a final rally attended by major conservative figures in Munich.
In an appeal to older-dominated voters on Friday, Merkel called for conservatives to remain in power for the sake of the stability that has long characterized Germany.
“In order to keep Germany stable, Armin Laschet should become chancellor and the CDU and CSU (coalition) should be the biggest force,” she said.
The day before the election, I went to Laschet and his constituency Aachen, a resort town near Germany’s western border with Belgium and the Netherlands, where the candidate was born and still lives.
“It is about your future, the future of your children, and the future of your parents,” she said at her last gathering before the elections, calling for strong mobilization in favor of her conservative alliance.
She stressed that climate protection will be the most important challenge for the next government, but stressed that this will not be achieved through “simply laws and rules.”
“For that, we need new technological developments, new procedures, researchers and interested people who are thinking about what can be done,” she said.
She reported that Laschet is a “bridge builder who will be able to convince people” to shape Germany to meet these challenges.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets on Friday, calling for change and better protection of the climate, while a prominent activist described the vote as the “century” elections.
As the countdown to the elections began, Schultz also stayed close to his hometown in pursuit of votes.
In response to questions from voters in his constituency Potsdam, a city on the outskirts of Berlin famous for its palaces that used to be the seat of Prussian kings, Schulz said he was fighting for a “big change in this country, a new government” under his leadership.
He gave a glimpse into the future government that he hopes to lead, saying, “It may be enough, for example, to form a government between the Social Democratic Party and the Greens.”
Schulz, the current finance minister in Merkel’s coalition government, avoided making mistakes during the election campaign and won broad support by presenting himself as a “continuity candidate” after Merkel instead of Laschet.
While described as having potential despite being considered a boring character, Schultz has time and time again outperformed Laschet by way of popularity.
With the elections approaching, the Conservatives led by Laschet are narrowing the difference, with one poll indicating that the difference between them and the Social Democrats (26%) is one percentage point.
Laschet ran for chancellorship badly damaged by a tough battle to win the Conservative nomination as a candidate for chancellor.
But his party was ahead of the Social Democrats with the advent of the summer.
However, Laschet was seen laughing behind German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier while the latter was giving a speech in honor of the victims of the deadly floods that swept Germany in July, in a snapshot that caused a shift in the public mood towards him and his party.
While the polls revealed that the difference was increasing in favor of the Social Democrats, the conservatives could only turn to their most important figure – Merkel – who remains widely popular.
Reliance on the chancellor is not without risk, said political analyst Oscar Niedermaier of the Free University of Berlin.
“Merkel is still the most popular politician,” he said. But their frequent appearance together may turn into a problem for Laschet, as the comparison will be made immediately between them.”
“And that could then be counterproductive, given that people might think that Merkel is more appropriate than Laschet,” he added.
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Source : ألدستور