Erik's Feed
Aug 18, 2013

Merkel says SPD rivals can not be trusted before vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel told voters they could not trust the opposition Social Democrats as they had a track record of breaking promises to grab power with the help of the ostracized far left, in an escalation of rhetoric before elections.

Merkel’s conservatives hold a 16-point lead over the Social Democrats (SPD) in polls, but she fears the opposition might still be able to win if it forms a coalition with the Left Party – a movement with its roots in former East Germany’s Communists.

Aug 17, 2013

Merkel warns against over-confidence ahead of September election

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel warned her supporters on Saturday against complacency ahead of the September 22 election, voicing fears that three leftist parties could unexpectedly join forces to oust her center-right coalition after ballots are counted.

Even though Merkel’s conservatives hold a 16-point lead over the Social Democrats (SPD) in opinion polls, the chancellor told a rally in Cloppenburg the SPD might still break a vow and form a coalition with the ostracized far left “Linke”, or Left Party.

Aug 15, 2013

German SPD faces shaky future as support for Steinbrueck sags

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) – Peer Steinbrueck, fighting a long-shot battle to oust Chancellor Angela Merkel in September, was determined to get into the cockpit of an empty Lufthansa Boeing 747 so that a pack of photographers could get shots of him at the controls.

But he forgot the 747 cockpit is on the upper deck and ended up stuck in front of a windowless wall on the floor below with a puzzled look on his face.

Aug 8, 2013

Merkel challenger vows to rein in banks, hike taxes on wealthy

HAMBURG, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Launching the final phase of his
long-shot campaign to oust German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
leftist challenger Peer Steinbrueck called on Thursday for
higher taxes on the wealthy and tighter rules “gambling”
bankers.

Analysts and pollsters see no chance of Steinbrueck’s Social
Democrats (SPD) catching Merkel’s conservatives, who have a 15
point lead in opinion polls six weeks before the Sept. 22
election.

Aug 5, 2013

Merkel party worries good polls won’t help on election day

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are worried that strong mid-summer opinion poll numbers may be overstating their strength for a September 22 election after they suffered nasty surprises twice before, their campaign manager said on Monday.

Presenting a first batch of “feel-good” posters featuring giant pictures of smiling Germans that will blanket the country, campaign manager Hermann Groehe said he expects the race to tighten in the final seven weeks as it did in 2005 and 2009.

Aug 4, 2013

Germany’s Left urges new alliance to oust Merkel after poll boost

BERLIN (Reuters) – The leader of Germany’s Left party urged the Social Democrats on Sunday to rethink their ban on a left-wing alliance as an opinion poll showed the three opposition parties could narrowly beat Chancellor Angela Merkel in the September 22 election.

Gregor Gysi, the Left’s parliamentary leader, said in several high-profile interviews on Sunday that the SPD should stop ostracizing the Left party because of its Communist past.

Aug 3, 2013

Merkel challenger Steinbrueck blunders again as rain destroys posters

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s challenger Peer Steinbrueck suffered another setback to his gaffe-prone campaign when thousands of Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) posters dissolved in the rain, Bild daily reported on Saturday.

The posters – printed on ecologically friendly, recyclable paper and part of a national campaign Steinbrueck personally launched on Tuesday – fell apart when heavy rain hit the states of Saarland and Hesse.

Jul 31, 2013

IOC’s Bach says wrestling on track for Olympic return

BERLIN (Reuters) – Wrestling, axed from the 2020 Olympic programme by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February, has a good chance of coming back after making sweeping changes, IOC Vice President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

Wrestling, squash and a joint bid by baseball and softball have been picked as the three candidate sports, one of which will fill the spot for the 2020 Olympics left vacant by wrestling in an IOC vote in September.

Jul 31, 2013

Olympics-IOC’s Bach says wrestling on track for Olympic return

BERLIN, July 31 (Reuters) – Wrestling, axed from the 2020 Olympic programme by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February, has a good chance of coming back after making sweeping changes, IOC Vice President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

Wrestling, squash and a joint bid by baseball and softball have been picked as the three candidate sports, one of which will fill the spot for the 2020 Olympics left vacant by wrestling in an IOC vote in September.

Jul 25, 2013

Merkel takes long break, signaling German election is a snooze

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German election is just eight weeks away, a clear victory is far from certain – and Chancellor Angela Merkel is taking a long holiday. What’s more, voters and strategists alike think it’s about the best thing she could do.

For one thing, Germans take their holidays seriously and 85 percent tell pollsters they have no qualms about Merkel taking a break abroad, as millions of others do, after a busy year leading Europe’s biggest economy through the euro zone crisis.

    • About Erik

      "Erik Kirschbaum is based in Berlin. He has been covering politics, economics, entertainment and sport in Germany since 1989 from Frankfurt, Bonn and Berlin. He also has worked for Reuters in Vienna. Previously, he also worked for newspapers in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Nevada. He has also written two books."
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