In an interview with Sputnik Germany, German political expert Prof. Dr. Nils Diederich shared his opinion about Merkel's prospects in the upcoming election.
Taking into account her last speech, during which Angela Merkel shared her future plans in terms of her domestic and international policy (including policy toward refugees), she seems to have found her political course for 2017, the expert believes. In particular, Merkel stated that she wants to "integrate from the right."
"This certainly means that she is striving for a new coalition with the FDP as long as the party will make it into the Bundestag. In addition, the CDU wants to attract the potential voters of the AfD. This ‘integration' refers to the fact that she wants to win back the lost voters of the Union in the upcoming election campaign," the expert stated.
The far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party has made significant gains in recent regional elections on the back of strong opposition to Merkel's ‘open-door' immigration policy. Now, when Merkel announced a change of her strategy toward refugees, she has quite good chances to win the votes back, the expert believes.
"This probably doesn't mean the end of the welcome culture, but it means the end of a heavy influx of immigrants. This can, of course, be prevented by not letting so many people come to Germany as it happened last year. Angela Merkel has pointed it out in her speech. In other words, she tries to bridge the gap between a welcome culture for people in need on the one hand, and the position that one cannot accept every person arriving in Germany, on the other," Diederich said.
According to a recent poll released Friday by the public broadcaster ZDF, two in three Germans approve of Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to run again in for the position in the elections scheduled for next year.
Only 33 percent of 1.258 people polled randomly by phone on November 22-24 said they disapproved of Merkel's plan to stand for a fourth term. Inside the ruling bloc of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats (CDU/CSU), her candidacy is backed by 89 percent.