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Sep 13, 2013

Germans frown on finger gesture by Merkel’s election rival

BERLIN, Sept 13 (Reuters) – In a country where flashing the
middle finger can cost motorists a heavy fine and ended one
soccer star’s international career, Peer Steinbrueck may have
hurt his slim chances of becoming Germany’s next chancellor by
showing the “Stinkefinger”.

Angela Merkel’s Social Democrat (SPD) challenger has had to
defend himself over a magazine cover picture in which he points
his left middle finger into the air, in a wordless response to a
question about his campaign gaffes.

Sep 12, 2013

Merkel’s challenger redoubles attacks as polls improve

BERLIN (Reuters) – Encouraged by late gains in opinion polls following his strong debate performances against Angela Merkel, German center-left challenger Peer Steinbrueck has sharpened the tone of his attacks on the chancellor in a bid to close the gap.

Steinbrueck’s Social Democrats (SPD) still trail the center right by about 14 points ahead of the September 22 election. But with millions of voters still undecided, he used his famously sharp tongue to rip into Merkel on Thursday for usurping SPD ideas.

Sep 10, 2013

Greens dream of power fading as German election nears

BERLIN (Reuters) – Sven Suska looked like a typical Greens voter as he sat in his sandals and shorts in the Berlin sun eating a fruit salad, but the computer programmer is abandoning the party he says is now too much part of the establishment.

Like other Germans once attracted to the world’s most successful pro-environment party, Suska is now turned off by the Greens — and his defection helps explain a sudden drop in support before Germany’s September 22 election.

Sep 6, 2013

Last Hitler bunker witness Misch dies at 96

BERLIN (Reuters) – Roland Misch, the last surviving witness of Adolf Hitler’s final days in the Berlin bunker who always referred to the Nazi dictator as “the Boss”, has died in his home at the age of 96, his book agent said on Friday.

Misch, who told Reuters in a 2007 interview at his home that there was a strange silence in the bunker as the battle for Berlin raged above in April 1945, had been suffering from the effects of a recent heart attack when he died on Thursday.

Sep 5, 2013

Germany’s Greens fall to four-year low as vote nears

BERLIN (Reuters) – Support for the German Greens has slumped to its lowest in four years just over two weeks before a federal election, with voters put off by the party’s plans to increase taxes on the rich and its attempt to persuade people to eat less meat.

The Greens’ two-point drop to 10 percent in a survey by FGW released on Thursday makes it even less likely that the center-left can defeat Chancellor Angela Merkel in the September 22 vote.

Sep 4, 2013

Merkel’s fear: pollsters may get it wrong again

BERLIN (Reuters) – Eight years ago Angela Merkel stared gloomily at the election results with disbelief when her party crashed to 35.2 percent of the German vote, seven points below the opinion poll forecast.

Her poll lead melted away again on election day four years later, though her conservatives stayed in power despite their worst result since 1949. Indeed her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have fallen short of forecasts in the last six elections.

Aug 22, 2013

Election ads put Merkel in focus while rivals hide their man

BERLIN, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Germany’s conservative Christian
Democrats will focus their TV advertising campaign on Chancellor
Angela Merkel while the opposition Social Democrats put ordinary
people in their ads and all but ignore their struggling
candidate, Peer Steinbrueck.

The rival parties kicked off the final month of campaigning
for the Sept. 22 election by presenting strikingly different TV
strategies on Thursday. Merkel’s conservatives hold a 16-point
lead over the SPD in opinion polls but her centre-right
coalition may fall short of a majority.

Aug 19, 2013

German SPD ties itself in knots over tax pledge

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s opposition Social Democrats (SPD) scrambled on Monday to contain a damaging debate over their tax hike plans as new opinion polls showed the party falling further behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives before next month’s election.

Over the weekend the party’s two top leaders, chairman Sigmar Gabriel and chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck, appeared to row back on the SPD’s campaign demand to raise taxes on the wealthy, saying the hikes could later be reversed if a planned crackdown on tax evaders proved successful.

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.

    • 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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