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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech during a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on January 30, 2016 in Neubrandenburg, northeastern Germany.

    Merkel's CDU Set for Regional Drubbing as Critics Slam Turkey-EU Deal

    © AFP 2017/ Bernd Settnik
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    Despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel describing the recently announced EU-Turkey refugee deal as a "breakthrough" towards solving the current crisis, many critics at home remain unconvinced, with Merkel's party tipped for heavy losses in regional elections this weekend.

    As critics within the EU parliament scolded the provisional EU deal with Turkey, skeptics in Germany also took aim at the agreement, with the leftist Die Linke party likening the deal to Turkish "blackmail."

    On the other side of the political spectrum, the right-wing tabloid newspaper, Bild, was equally critical of the deal, with an online editorial accusing EU leaders of planning to "spend billions to support and even accelerate Turkey's path towards becoming an authoritarian religious state based on violence, just to ensure that the regime there takes the refugees off our hands".

    Germans to Vote in Regional Polls

    The criticism over the latest attempt to stem the flow of refugees into Europe comes as three German states head to the polls for regional elections this weekend. 

    More than 12 million Germans are set to elect regional parliaments in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt, with polls suggesting Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is to be heavily punished for its open-door refugee policy.

    In the CDU's traditional stronghold of Baden-Württemberg, a recent poll suggested the party's support had dropped by more than 10 percentage points, placing it second behind the Green Party. While elsewhere, increased support for the anti-immigration Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party was expected to further erode CDU votes.

    The elections are seen as a litmus test of public opinion on Merkel's refugee policies, amid rising anger over the chancellor's refusal to place an upper cap on the number of refugees Germany was willing to accept.

    Intra-Party Tension

    This tension has led to friction within Merkel's own party, with a number of senior cabinet ministers publicly contradicting the chancellor in recent months.

    The frustration over Germany's approach to the migration crisis culminated in Merkel being subjected to a public dressing down by Bavarian sister party leader Horst Seehofer, who has been hugely critical of the chancellor's refusal to introduce refugee caps.

    While Merkel and other government figures are urging voters to keep the faith with Germany's current approach to the migration crisis, polls suggest the chancellor may be heavily punished for her policy on the matter, with regional polls set to have a significant impact in shaping next year's national elections. 

    Related:

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    Tags:
    open border, regional elections, domestic politics, migrant crisis, polls, popularity, refugees, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Alternative for Germany (AfD), Angela Merkel, Germany, Europe
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