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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.

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”

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

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.

    • 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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