Would-be Merkel successor Laschet sees approval rating slump

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BERLIN: Support for Germany‘s conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor has slumped ahead of September’s federal election after he was seen laughing on a visit to a flood-stricken town, a poll showed on Thursday.
Armin Laschet apologised last week for the gaffe a week earlier, when he was caught on camera laughing at a joke while the country’s president was giving a sombre speech. But voters are unimpressed.
The infratest dimap survey for broadcaster ARD, polling voters on a hypothetical direct vote for chancellor, showed Laschet losing 8 percentage points from last month to 20% support.
Olaf Scholz, the chancellor candidate for the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), gained 6 points to 35%. The Greens’ candidate, Annalena Baerbock, slipped 2 points to 16%.
The poll of 1,312 voters, conducted from Monday to Wednesday of this week, put support for Laschet’s conservatives on 27%, ahead of the Greens on 19%, the SPD on 18%, the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) on 12%, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) on 10% and the leftist Linke on 6%.
The fractured political landscape has increased speculation that three political groups may need to join forces after the September 26 election to form a ruling coalition. Merkel’s conservatives share power now with the SPD.
The Greens presented an “emergency climate protection programme” on Tuesday, aiming to reset their national election campaign after squandering an early surge in opinion polls with a raft of mistakes.



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