Two days before German federal elections, Angela Merkel, who is going for a fourth term as Chancellor, found her closing campaign rally in Munich crashed by right-wing protesters, who booed and heckled her for half an hour as she made her speech.
The loud heckling and whistling was audible on RT Ruptly’s live feed from the Friday rally even before Merkel began to speak, and the organizers eventually had to raise the mic’s volume. This did not prevent the German leader from giving her prepared 30-minute speech, but she added an improvised detail as an opening remark to her opponents.
“With whistling and yelling, one will surely not shape Germany’s future,” Merkel told the protesters on the last day election campaigning is allowed to take place.
This is not the first time Merkel has been disrupted by demonstrators on the campaign trail. At a rally in Heidelberg earlier in September, the Chancellor was grazed by a thrown tomato, which left a faint, but visible, stain on her red jacket. Though in a usual show of stoicism, Merkel did not lose her cool.
Merkel and her ruling conservative CDU/CSU alliance have taken a hit over the last few years, partly as a result of her handling of the migrant and refugee crisis, the biggest to face Europe since the Second World War. On Friday, the results of a YouGov survey was published in the newspaper Die Welt, showing that half of the German electorate (out of a sample of 2,308 respondents) agreed with the slogan “Merkel must go!” chanted by right-wing demonstrators at her rallies. The highest percentage came from supporters of the far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, but large numbers of the Left party and center-left SPD voters shared those sentiments as well.
Merkel’s main rival is Martin Schulz of the SPD (Social Democratic Party), who on Friday also held a rally in Berlin where he discussed reforms, increased spending on schools and addressing gender disparities, which he accused Merkel of ignoring. By contrast Schulz was not met with any booing, but there are fears his SPD party is undermined by years of coalition with the CDU/CSU since the elections of 2013.
“Martin Schulz is also not tackling those issues,” a young man who attended the rally told RT. “His party has been in the government for the past few years, so he’s not a candidate for true change.”
The CDU/CSU is still in the lead at the polls, with support for them showing at 37 percent. The SPD is trailing behind at 22 percent, while the anti-immigration AfD holds 10 percent. The FDP and the Left party, which calls for higher taxes on the rich and the dissolution of NATO, hold 9 percent each.
“It’s important to have a left [wing] agenda in their [the government’s] programs so the country is able to make a step to the left in the future and avoid more steps into the right, which we are doing at the moment, I’m afraid,” said another man at a Left campaign rally.
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