Merkel’s conservatives lose support before election, poll shows

Merkel’s conservatives lose support before election, poll shows
Peter Altmaier chancellery minister and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a top candidate of the Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU) for the upcoming general elections, wave to supporters during an election rally in Dillingen, Germany, on September 15, 2017. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)
Updated 15 September 2017

Merkel’s conservatives lose support before election, poll shows

Merkel’s conservatives lose support before election, poll shows

BERLIN: Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has slipped and over a third of Germans are still undecided how they will vote in the Sept. 24 election, an opinion poll showed on Friday.
The weekly survey, conducted by pollster Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for ZDF television, showed support for Merkel’s conservative bloc falling 2 points to 36 percent — a result that would still make it the largest group in Parliament.
Support for its nearest rivals, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), rose by 1 point to 23 percent. The business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the anti-immigration, euro-hostile Alternative for Germany (AfD) were both on 10 percent.
The far-left Die Linke stood at 9 percent and the left-leaning enviromental The Greens at 8 percent.
The poll of 1,383 voters, conducted from Sept. 12 to Sept. 14, also showed that 39 percent of those surveyed were still unsure how they would vote.
With the election likely to install six parties in parliament, up from four now, Germany will be marked by a more fractured political landscape after the vote. This could make coalition building difficult.
Friday’s poll showed there would be sufficient support for both a repeat of the incumbent “grand coalition” of Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD, and for a so-called “Jamaica” coalition of the conservatives, FDP and Greens.
However, Greens co-leader Cem Ozdemir sounded a skeptical note about a possible three-way Jamaica tie-up — a reference to the parties’ colors: black, yellow and green.
“I don’t see how we should get together with the FDP,” he told the daily Berliner Zeitung.
The poll’s margin of error was some 3 percentage points. With support for Merkel’s conservatives and the FDP — natural allies who have ruled together in the past — at 46 percent, the margin of error suggests they could yet squeak into power.
A separate poll released on Thursday showed support for the SPD had slumped to its lowest level this year — at 20 percent — with Merkel’s conservatives steady at 37 percent.


Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint

Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint
Updated 32 min 29 sec ago

Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint

Heavily armed man arrested at Washington security checkpoint
  • Washington is under a high state of alert ahead of Biden’s Wednesday inauguration
  • Security officials have warned that armed pro-Trump extremists pose a threat to Washington

WASHINGTON: A heavily armed man has been arrested in Washington at a security checkpoint near the US Capitol, where President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated next week, authorities said.
Wesley Allen Beeler, of Virginia, was taken into custody after police found him with a handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the gun, according to a police report obtained by AFP.
He had tried to pass through the checkpoint using fake inaugural credentials, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Washington is under a high state of alert ahead of Biden’s Wednesday inauguration, after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6.
Five people died in the assault, including a police officer.
Security officials have warned that armed pro-Trump extremists, possibly carrying explosives, pose a threat to Washington as well as state capitals over the coming week.
Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed in Washington and streets have been blocked off downtown with concrete barriers.
The National Mall, which is normally packed with people every four years for presidential inaugurations, has been declared off-limits at the request of the Secret Service, which ensures the security of the president.