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Merkel returns to election campaign amid slump in public approval

Europe
12.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel returns to the election fray on Saturday with a speech at a party event that marks the start of the critical stage of her campaign for re-election in next month‘s election.

The event, organized by Merkel‘s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in the industrial city of Dortmund, comes on the heels of opinion polls showing a sudden drop in the chancellor‘s approval ratings.

Merkel departed the political stage late last month for a vacation that included two major European classical musical festivals and a hiking trip to the Italian Alps.

Since then, details of a deadly Islamist-inspired knife attack in Hamburg have emerged, and the emissions scandal in the German car industry has widened.

German carmakers have come under increasing pressure in the wake of Volkswagen‘s admittance in September 2015 that it installed software that cheated diesel emissions tests in more than 11 million vehicles worldwide.

The political power of Germany‘s carmakers in particular has emerged as a campaign issue ahead of the September 24 election, with the ties between the car industry and the nation‘s political establishment coming under scrutiny.

The industry crisis deepened last month, when it emerged that VW, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Daimler had been members of a secret cartel since the 1990s that discussed emission controls and standards.

Despite Merkel‘s slump in approval, opinion polls continue to show her CDU party and its Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU) allies retaining a commanding lead of about 40 per cent.

Support for her rivals, the centre-left Social Democrats, stands at about 24 per cent, which is lower than the 25.7-per-cent support the party received in the last election.

 

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