Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has fallen to its lowest since May 2013, a poll showed on Sunday, as her coalition partner said Germany must win over refugee skeptics or else risk “planting social explosives in our nation”.
Germany, a favored destination for migrants, expects 800,000 to a million refugees to arrive this year. Many Germans feel the country cannot cope with the record influx.
Last week, Merkel faced calls from some of her own conservatives to tighten Germany’s border controls and turn away refugees arriving from Austria – pressure she has resisted.
But popular concerns are eroding support for her conservatives, who saw their support slip by one percentage point to 37 percent in a weekly survey by Emnid. As recently as mid-September, the conservative bloc enjoyed 41-percent support.
“Merkel fights for her power,” ran a headline in the Bild am Sonntag mass-selling weekly newspaper.
Despite angst in her party ranks about the tide of refugees flowing into Germany, Merkel’s position is strong, in part because she has no obvious challenger. [ID:nL8N12E24H]
Guenther Oettinger, a German European Commissioner, nonetheless warned fellow conservatives against a leadership debate in Germany.
“We are suffering from Europe hardly having any more stable governments,” he told young conservatives in Hamburg.
The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in Merkel’s ruling coalition, said the government must “take with us” people who worry about the migrant influx.