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Merkel warns before vote: 'It's not over yet'

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-22 08:09

HAMBURG - Returning to her birthplace, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged supporters to mobilize undecided voters before Sunday's election, telling them not to take her conservatives' solid lead in opinion polls for granted.

Surveys showed many voters are still undecided and, with the election likely to return a fractured parliament, she wants to maximize support to bolster her position in coalition negotiations.

Some voters perceive all the parties as having little difference to one another and their policies are converging, thus resulting in their indecision.

The German election rule sets a 5-percent-vote hurdle to be elected into the Bundestag, excluding other smaller parties. The German electoral system makes it very difficult for any one party to form a government on its own.

Therefore, an alliance of parties is common practice, but a game between parties will take place before an alliance is forged.

"What I've heard in the last days is unbelievable ... that everything is already decided," the 63-year-old told a crowd of several hundred packed into the Fish Auction Hall in Hamburg.

Merkel warns before vote: 'It's not over yet'

"It is not. Every vote counts!"

Noting that the center-left Social Democrats, or SPD, her closest rivals, have not ruled out a left-wing coalition with the Left party and the environmentalist Greens - a tie-up untested at national level - Merkel said: "We live in turbulent times. We can't afford any experiments.

"In these times, we need stability and security, and a clear path, both at home and abroad."

Before Merkel spoke in Hamburg, a band pumped up the crowd, belting out Celebration by Kool & The Gang and Bryan Adams' Summer of '69.

One or two graying supporters stood up and danced.

SPD leader Martin Schulz told broadcaster RTL he believed there could still be a last-minute swing in his party's favor.

"The experience of all elections, national or international, show that the number of undecided people is growing more and more," Schulz said. "Everything is still possible."

A win for him would be against the run of the opinion polls. On Tuesday, a weekly survey conducted by Forsa showed support for Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc - known as the 'Union' - at 36 percent, its lowest since April, but still far ahead of the SPD, on 23 percent.

Attention in Germany is largely turning to who Merkel will govern with after the election, rather than whether she will stay in power.


(China Daily 09/22/2017 page12)

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