15:39 GMT +323 October 2019
Listen Live
    German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a press conference after a meeting with leading politicians at her CDU party in Mayence, central Germany, on January 9, 2016

    Merkel Ally Defends Chancellor as Party Divisions Deepen

    © AFP 2019 / Fredrik von Erichsen
    Europe
    Get short URL
    497
    Subscribe

    The open war of words between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and its sister party, the Bavaria-based the Christian Social Union (CSU), continued with her finance minister lambasting the CSU for their attacks on her.

    Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told the broadcaster ZDF:

    "I have to reject the formulation 'Dispute between Merkel and [Bavarian state premier and CSU chairman] Seehofer'. These are attacks against Merkel. There is nothing comparable from the CDU toward the CSU, neither toward the party as a whole nor toward individuals."

    German Economy Minister Siegmar Gabriel (C) peers between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian state premier and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 14, 2016.
    © REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch
    German Economy Minister Siegmar Gabriel (C) peers between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian state premier and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 14, 2016.

    Merkel is now facing the biggest rift between her CDU party and the CSU since the two parties made an alliance following the Second World War, with Seehofer threatening to stand against Merkel at the 2017 federal elections in which a poll by German magazine Cicero shows that two-thirds of Germans do not want to back Merkel or her party. 

    A senior CSU figure, Markus Söder, told German weekly Der Spiegel:

    "We want to go into the election campaign with her [Merkel], together. But she's not making it easy for us at the moment."

    Rise of the Right

    Merkel has drawn strong criticism over her 'open doors' policy over refugees. In the summer of 2015, she made clear Syrian refugees would be welcome in Germany, precipitating a huge movement of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq — among other nations — fleeing warzones.

    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. Moe than 1.1 million entered Germany in 2015 alone.

    Protesters demonstrate with a banner 'Refugees welcome!' in Dresden, eastern Germany, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. A refugee shelter was attacked by far-right protesters in Heidenau near Dresden over the last weekend.
    © AP Photo / Jens Meyer
    Protesters demonstrate with a banner 'Refugees welcome!' in Dresden, eastern Germany, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. A refugee shelter was attacked by far-right protesters in Heidenau near Dresden over the last weekend.

    Merkel has refused to bend for calls to cap the total number of refugees Germany will take this year, causing anger in Bavaria, where Seehofer has had to deal with the flood of migrants coming over the border from Austria.

    The right-wing populist AfD party has found growing support throughout Germany.

    The latest poll for the eastern state of Brandenburg, shows the AfD overtaking the Left, jumping seven points to 20 percent to claim third place behind the German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU party.

    In Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania — two states holding elections in September — the AfD and the Left are now virtually neck and neck.

    Related:

    Merkel's Party in Despair Over Migrant Crisis and Poll Drop
    Poll: Germans Tired of Merkel, Look for Alternative in 2017
    Merkel’s CDU Party Targeted by Hackers – Security Company
    Tags:
    German parliament, refugee crisis, migrant crisis, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Alternative for Germany (AfD), Christian Democratic Union, Horst Seehofer, Angela Merkel, Germany
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik