Seehofer slumps after Merkel spat: poll

Seehofer slumps after Merkel spat: poll

The popularity of Angela Merkel’s government has fallen after the internal dispute with her Bavarian interior minister, Horst Seehofer, over migration policy, according to ever-unreliable polling. The polls said Seehofer’s popularity had nosedived after taking on Merkel. 

The Deutschlandtrend survey said almost 80 per cent of Germans asked said they were somewhat or completely dissatisfied with the veteran chancellor’s latest coalition. 

The figure marked a 15 percentage points fall since June and only 21 per cent said they were happy with Germany’s leadership in the study by broadcaster ARD. 

Merkel agreed on Monday to tighten border controls by setting up transit centres on the Austrian border and turning back migrants who have previously registered in another EU country.

Merkel’s personal popularity has dropped slightly over the past month, from 50 to 48 per cent but her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who threatened to resign unless his demands for stricter asylum rules were implemented, slumped 16 percentage points to 27 per cent.

Two-thirds of respondents purportedly said Merkel was losing control of her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its allied Christian Social Union (CSU), which is led by Seehofer.

The pollsters said more than 70 per cent of voters felt Seehofer’s behaviour had weakened the CDU/CSU government, which has dominated German politics since 2005. 


Merkel has said she opposed turning Europe into a fortress against refugees in another public clash over immigration, this time with populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

She said that while it was Hungary’s right to protect its border, the EU also had humanitarian responsibilities.

“We do protect our outer borders, but not with the goal of just walling ourselves off and talking about a kind of fortress,” Merkel said at a joint news conference with Orban in Berlin (pictured). “The difference is that if we want to uphold Europe’s soul, if we want to play a role in the world with these values, then Europe can’t simply disengage.”

Orban said the solution was to close Europe’s external borders and provide assistance to potential migrants in Africa and Asia to stop them trying to arrive. Hungarians were “offended” by accusations from Germans that they lacked solidarity, he told the media.

“We think we must be humane in a way that doesn’t exert any pull factor,” the strongman prime minister said. “We don’t want to import problems, that’s the difference in viewpoint between us.”

Orban said if Hungary’s army did not protect the borders with Serbia and Croatia, as many as 5,000 migrants would arrive in Germany each day. 

“That’s what we are defending you from,” Orban said. “That is solidarity, strong solidarity, I think.”



The shape of European politics to come? Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Picture credit: YouTube

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