German election misery as Merkel and Laschet meet furious protesters in rain on campaign


On September 26, Germans will cast their votes in the country’s federal election, as Chancellor Angela Merkel steps down after 16 years in office. However, the outgoing Chancellor and Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader, were met with furious protests on Tuesday.

At around 7pm on Tuesday, while visiting the Alter Markt in Stralsund for a campaign speech, Ms Merkel and Mr Laschet were heckled by protesters.

A small but noisy crowd of fewer than 50 anti-lockdown protesters were reported to have chanted “Merkel muss weg” (“Merkel must go”).

Local reports also said the Chancellor and party leader were told “get lost” and called “traitors” by those demonstrating.

At the beginning of the campaign event, the director turned the music up so much, whistles by the protesters were drowned out by the sound of the Black Eyed Peas.

Ms Merkel and Mr Laschet both pleaded with voters to support the CDU in the election.

The outgoing Chancellor said: “There is a lot at stake on Sunday.

“It is about whether we stick to the course of moderation and centrism … or whether we make policy that only thinks about distribution (of wealth).”

In a jab at Germany’s Social Democrats party (SPD), Ms Merkel argued a left-wing coalition could not deliver solid public finances.

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Speaking after Ms Merkel, Mr Laschet also hit out at rival political parties.

He said: “We have to do the right thing economically.

“That’s why what the SPD, the Left and the Greens are planning is wrong.”

Mr Laschet courted controversy earlier in 2021 after he was caught on camera laughing during a visit to a flood-hit town in his home state of North-Rhine Westphalia in July.

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Germans have expressed doubts Mr Laschet, Ms Merkel’s continuity candidate, can take over from the Chancellor.

German newsweekly Der Spiegel ran a cover story entitled Das Laschet Disaster, which accused the CDU candidate of several strategic errors such as a bitty political agenda, a lack of a coherent narrative about what he wants to do with the top job in German politics, and a lack of focus.

The outlet said: “Laschet acts as if he was waiting to inherit Merkel’s power – and not to win support and votes.”

Speaking to news outlet DW, Madeline Baron, a 23-year-old care worker from the small nearby city of Neubrandenburg, said: “I really don’t know who I’m going to vote for. I’m a steadfast CDU supporter, but not of Laschet.”

Anne Ehrich, a 71-year-old retiree from Hamburg, added: “Maybe (Merkel’s) also not so convinced by him.”

It comes as a poll ahead of the Bundestag elections showed the SPD narrowly ahead of Ms Merkel’s and Mr Laschet’s CDU.

According to a Forsa poll for RTL/n-tv television, the SPD’s support is at 25 percent compared to the CDU/CSU’s 22 percent.

The German Greens were on 17 percent, the Free Democrats (FDP) at 11 percent, the far-right AfD at 11 percent and the anti-capitalist Left party at 6 percent.

Additional reporting from Monika Pallenberg



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