German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrats are leading in the polls ahead of next month’s national election. The left-leaning Social Democrats are struggling to narrow the gap.
Polls show that the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has won only 24% support, trailing behind Merkel’s conservative bloc, which enjoys 38%.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the SPD is having difficulty in differentiating itself from the conservatives, with whom it rules as junior partner in a ‘grand coalition’ – an alliance the party wants to avoid repeating, but which polls suggest is the only partnership that can guarantee a majority.
“We need to get more emotional, to fight and force Merkel to speak in clear terms so that the differences become clear,” SPD Labour Minister Andrea Nahles told business daily Handelsblatt.
Nahles accused Merkel of trying to cruise through the election without staking out clear positions.
Last year, Germany’s refugee crisis threatened Merkel, who is campaigning for a fourth term on a platform of economic stability. But she is projecting herself as an anchor of stability in an uncertain world.
According to Reuters, SPD leader Martin Schulz has been increasingly critical of Merkel this week, accusing her of blocking his party’s efforts in the ruling coalition to win better pay for temporary workers and improve workers’ rights.
A former European Parliament president, Schulz cannot match the clout of Merkel, gained in 12 years of experience as leader of Europe’s biggest economy.