Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls
Angela Merkel
Updated 12 November 2017

Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

BERLIN: Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has fallen to the lowest level in more than six years, according to a poll on Sunday, as they prepare for more talks on a coalition deal with the environmentalist Greens and a pro-business party.
The weekly Emnid survey for Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed only 30 percent would vote for Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc if there were a federal election, down 1 percentage point.
This is the lowest reading for the conservatives in this survey since October 2011 and marks a slump in support since the Sept. 24 election, in which Merkel’s bloc won 32.9 percent.
Merkel’s conservatives, who bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the election, are trying to forge a three-way coalition government with Greens and the pro-market Free Democrats (FDP) — an alliance untested at the national level.
While politicians from the CDU/CSU and the FDP have cited progress after three weeks of exploratory talks, senior Greens voiced frustration and stepped up the pressure on Merkel.
“We see no goodwill at all on Europe, foreign and domestic policy, on affordable housing and good working conditions, on transport and agriculture transition,” Greens co-leader Cem Ozdemir told Bild am Sonntag.
Touching on one of the thorniest issues, Merkel said on Saturday that Germany should lead the fight against climate change and cut emissions without destroying industrial jobs.
Merkel’s comments, made in her weekly podcast in the middle of talks on limiting global warming attended by about 200 nations in the western German city of Bonn, highlighted the dilemma facing the center-right leader in the negotiations.
While the CDU/CSU and the FDP want to spare companies from additional burdens, the Greens want to spell out which measures the next government will implement for Germany to reach its 2020 goal of lowering emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels.
Due to strong economic growth and higher-than-expected immigration, Germany is at risk of missing its emissions target without any additional measures.
Merkel wants to have an agreement in principle by Nov. 16 on moving ahead to formal coalition negotiations to form a black-yellow-green government — also dubbed a “Jamaica coalition” because the parties’ colors match those of that country’s flag.
With less than a week to go, the exploratory coalition talks are not only complicated by the differences between the parties, but also by splits within the political parties themselves — especially within the conservatives and Greens.
A breakdown of the talks could mean fresh elections in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, since the Social Democrats (SPD) — the second-biggest party — have made clear they have no appetite for joining another “grand coalition” under Merkel.


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.