Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged the Germans to give his future successor, Armin Laschet, the vote to shape Germany’s future, in a last-ditch effort to shore up his beleaguered campaign 24 hours before the Germans’ vote. Throughout his campaign, the Conservative candidate had to gain popularity to face his left-wing opponent Olaf Scholz.
Laschet, 60, has been behind his Social Democratic challenger Olaf Scholz in the race for chancellor, though final polls put the gap between them within the margin of error, making the vote one of the most unpredictable in the world. the last years.
Merkel had planned to keep a low profile in the electoral battle as she prepares to retire from politics after 16 years in power. But she has been drawn into the frenzied campaign program of her party’s unpopular president, Laschet.
In the final week of the campaign, Merkel brought Laschet to her constituency on the Baltic coast and on Friday led the closing rally that brought together the Conservative bigwigs in Munich.
Merkel touched the hearts of Germany’s predominantly older electorate on Friday, calling on them to keep their Conservatives in power for the sake of stability, a trademark of Germany.
“To keep Germany stable, Armin Laschet must become chancellor, and the CDU and CSU must be the strongest force,” he said.
A day before the vote, he traveled to Laschet’s hometown and the constituency of Aachen, a spa town near Germany’s western border with Belgium and the Netherlands, where he was born and still lives.
“It’s about your future, the future of your children and the future of your parents,” he said, urging a strong mobilization for his conservative alliance.
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Merkel stressed that protecting the climate will be a key challenge for the next government, but said this will not be achieved “simply through rules and regulations.”
Laschet is a “bridge builder who will get people on board” in shaping Germany to meet those challenges, he said.
The Conservative candidate “is a proud European and has been building his campaign on that,” reported JowharBerlin correspondent Nick Spicer.
“He is much less popular with Germans as a possible chancellor than Olaf Scholz,” Spicer said.
Laschet from Germany ‘is a proud European and based his company on that’
Hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets Friday calling for change and greater climate protection, and a prominent activist called Sunday’s election the vote “of a century.”
‘New start for Germany’ in Merkel’s ‘continuity’
With the clock ticking until the election, Scholz was also staying close to home on the other side of the country to chase the last few votes.
Scholz is holding “dialogues about the future” with voters in his constituency of Potsdam, a city outside Berlin famous for its palaces that once housed Prussian kings.
Currently Finance Minister in Merkel’s coalition government, Scholz has avoided making mistakes in the election campaign, and largely won backing, as he sold himself as the “continuity candidate” after Merkel instead. by Laschet.
Furthermore, in Friday’s election campaign, Scholz demanded “a new beginning for Germany” and “a change of government” after 16 years under Merkel.
Described as capable but boring, Scholz has always beaten Laschet by wide margins when it comes to popularity.
As Election Day approached, Laschet’s Tories were closing the gap, with one poll even placing them just one percentage point behind 26 percent of the SPD.
Laschet entered the race for chancellorship badly hit by a tough battle over the nomination of the Conservatives’ chancellor candidate.
However, his party enjoyed a substantial lead before the SPD heading into the summer.
But Laschet was seen laughing behind President Frank-Walter Steinmeier as he paid tribute to the victims of the deadly floods in July, an image that would drastically change the mood against him and his party.
As polls showed the SPD’s lead was widening, the Conservatives turned to their biggest asset: the still-popular Merkel.
However, tying up the chancellor is not without risks, said political analyst Oskar Niedermayer of the Free University of Berlin.
“Merkel is still the most beloved policy. But joint appearances can become a problem for Laschet because he immediately compares them to each other,” he said. “And therefore it could backfire because people might think Merkel is more suitable than Laschet.”