Germany: Merkel backs ‘bridge-builder’ Laschet as successor

Merkel backs 'bridge-builder' Laschet as successor
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party's candidate to replace her, Armin Laschet, spoke at a rally on Saturday. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: In an unusually tight poll campaign, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed her party’s candidate Armin Laschet to succeed her.

In a CDU rally in Mr Laschet’s home town of Aachen, Mrs Merkel, who was the Chancellor of the country for the lst 16 years, praised him as a “bridge-builder who will get people on board”.

The German election is too close to call, with polls putting the centre-right almost neck and neck with the centre-left SPD.

In the last 16 years, Mrs Merkel has dominated German politics as chancellor.

She had stepped down for Sunday’s election, but her CDU-CSU alliance has lost what was a comfortable lead in the polls and is now trailing just behind the SPD (Social Democrats) – the junior partners in the current coalition government.

The Green Party is on course to come third, according to survey, but could still feature in government; analysts say a wide range of coalitions could be technically possible, if politically tricky, to negotiate.

The SPD’s success is largely attributed to its candidate Olaf Scholz, current Finance Minister of the country who exudes the same understated calm many have admired in Angela Merkel.

But there are a range of issues in voters’ minds, including climate change. Tens of thousands of young activists marched throughout the country on Friday to demand greater action to tackle global warming.

Climate change has been a central theme in the German election campaign.

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