Merkel: ‘No fear’ ahead of crucial election

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaks in front of a flag of the European Union
Sean Gallup | Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaks in front of a flag of the European Union

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that she is not afraid about the final weeks of her re-election campaign, despite the main opposition party gaining strength in polls.

"I do not have fear," Merkel said in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, when asked about the final days of the campaign.

Merkel and her party the Christian Democrats (CDU) have experienced significant differences between pre-election polls and the final result before. In the last election, a poll lead melted away and the party received its worst result in six decades, although it stayed in power. The previous election saw it come in with 35.2 percent of the German vote, seven points lower than opinion polls predicted.

"Many people decide very late, and that means that we are fighting for every vote. And I always say that those who believe the election already has been decided, that I will stay German chancellor, might wake up on the Monday after and see that we have red-red-green (a coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Green Party and the far-left Linke Party)," Merkel said. "I don't want that and for that I will fight in the last days."

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The German election campaign has become a focal point in the development of the euro zone crisis this year. Merkel has been one of the most prominent leaders during the crisis and has maintained a pro-austerity stance that has made Germany unpopular in bailed-out countries like Greece. Her main opposition, the Social Democratic Party (SPD),has gained ground after a better-than-expected performance by its leader Peer Steinbrueck in a television debate with Merkel at the weekend.

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"I am the chancellor of a very strong country and this country participates, it says when it can contribute, it also says that we will not contribute under the present circumstances,we fulfill our duties and therefore, fear or concern is not my point," she said.

"But my task is to solve problems and to advance, even if it is only a few inches."

The latest poll by ZDF suggests that the status quo should remain largely unchanged post-election, with Merkel's CDU/ Christian Social Union coalition predicted to keep its 41 percent share of the vote, and its junior coalition partner Free Democratic Party receiving 6 percent. The main difference looks to be gains for opposition party SPD, which 26 percent of those polled said they would vote for, and losses for the Green Party.

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