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Published: 16:58, September 07, 2021 | Updated: 19:53, September 07, 2021
Merkel endorses Laschet, takes swipe at Scholz in election pitch
By Bloomberg
Published:16:58, September 07, 2021 Updated:19:53, September 07, 2021 By Bloomberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a debate about the situation in Germany ahead of the upcoming national election in Berlin, Germany, Sept 7, 2021. (MARKUS SCHREIBER / AP)

Angela Merkel endorsed Armin Laschet, her bloc’s candidate to succeed her as chancellor, while taking a shot at his Social Democratic rival in an unusually direct intervention in the election campaign.

Olaf Scholz is the front-funner with the SPD topping the polls, but Angela Merkel has sought to staunch the fallout, wading into the campaign with a more full-throated endorsement of her bloc's candidate Armin Laschet

A government led by her conservative alliance with Laschet as chancellor would be the “best path for our country,” Merkel said in a feisty speech in the Bundestag on Tuesday.

“His government would stand for stability, reliability and restraint,” she said in her final official appearance in parliament before the Sept 26 vote. “It matters who runs the country.”

ALSO READ: Merkel goes to bat for Laschet as poll slump continues

She criticized the fact that the SPD’s Olaf Scholz, the current front-runner, hasn’t ruled out a coalition with the anti-capitalist Left party, and also attacked a recent comment from her vice-chancellor, who appeared to suggest that COVID-19 vaccinations are still experimental.

“No one getting vaccinated was a guinea pig,” she said, alluding to a comment he made in a recent interview. “Neither me nor Olaf Scholz.”

With less than three weeks until the national election, support for Merkel's bloc fell to a record low of 19 percent.

The decline of two percentage points in the latest weekly Forsa poll leaves her CDU/CSU alliance six points behind the surging Social Democrats, who gained a further two points to 25 percent. The Greens lost one point to 17 percent in third.


Less than three weeks before the election, the German leader led the debate that will also include the three main candidates seeking to replace her - Scholz, Laschet and the Green party’s Annalena Baerbock.

Scholz, a distant third over most of the summer, has turned the contest around, vaulting into the front-runner role with the SPD topping the polls. Laschet has failed to reach voters and mounted a gaffe-prone campaign, while Baerbock has been on the defensive over accusations of plagiarism.

READ MORE: Merkel heir turns to former rival Merz to reverse poll slump

Merkel has sought to staunch the fallout, wading into the campaign on Sunday with a more full-throated endorsement of Laschet, even as polls show Scholz’s momentum holding steady.

The latest opinion poll showed support for Merkel's bloc fell to a record low of 19 percent.

The decline of two percentage points in the latest weekly Forsa poll leaves her CDU/CSU alliance six points behind the surging Social Democrats, who gained a further two points to 25 percent. The Greens lost one point to 17 percent in third.


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