06:23 GMT17 April 2021
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    Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government has fallen to its lowest level for five years, as more people throw their weight behing right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

    In the latest polls, Merkel's Union Party — comprising her Christian Democrats (CDU) and allied Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) — now have just 33 percent overall support, the lowest rating since October 2011 in trends regularly measured by pollsters for the ARD network.

    The other party in her coalition government, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), slumped to just 20 percent — a far cry from the 33 percent it enjoyed in 2005 and its lowest rating since 1997, according to the 'DeutschlandTrend' surveys, usually conducted for the ARD on Sundays.

    Merkel has come in for severe criticism at home over her open doors policy to refugees, which initially brought her plaudits. However, the sheer volume of migrants arriving in German has caused major strains in many German states, with asylum seekers creating a burden on local authorities. More than 1.1 million entered Germany in 2015 alone.

    Merkel's falling popularity has been accelerated by her isolating Germany within Europe. Her plans to relocate refugees across all 28 member states according to a mandatory quota system have met huge opposition — particularly from Central European states.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks past the party logo during a party convention of the Christian Democrats (CDU) in Karlsruhe, Germany, December 14, 2015.
    © AP Photo / Michael Probst
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks past the party logo during a party convention of the Christian Democrats (CDU) in Karlsruhe, Germany, December 14, 2015.

    EU-Turkey Deal Slammed

    However, the deal she brokered with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to return "irregular" migrants from Greece to Turkey in return for one Syrian being relocated from Turkey to an EU member state has drawn sever criticism at home. The deal is contingent on accelerating Turkey's accession to the EU and visa-free access for its citizens to the EU from June 2016.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU Council President Donald Tusk cut a ribbon during a ceremony unveiling a child services center in Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016.
    © REUTERS / Steffen Kugler
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU Council President Donald Tusk cut a ribbon during a ceremony unveiling a child services center in Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016.

    Only 33 percent of those surveyed said they favored visa-free entry to Europe for Turkish citizens. Only 38 percent endorsed the deal, designed to redistribute asylum-seekers stuck in Greece across the European Union.

    Her calls for a pan-European response to the crisis — keeping open the border inside the Schengen zone — have been ignored as country after country closed their borders.

    Merkel has refused to bend for calls to cap the total number of refugees Germany will take this year, causing anger in Bavaria, where CSU Party leader and minister President Horst Seehofer has had to deal with the flood of migrants coming over the border from Austria. Following the CDU/CSU Union's poor performance in this week's regional elections, Seehofer said: "We should tell people that we get it and that we will draw the consequences from this election result."

    Related:

    Why Merkel is Letting Erdogan 'Make Fool of Her'
    German Comic: Merkel ‘Filleted Me’ and ‘Served Me Up for Tea’ to Erdogan
    Atlantic Puppeteers: Who is Behind 'The Merkel Plan' and EU Refugee Policy
    Tags:
    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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