Merkel’s ally wants refugee policy reviewed

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Supporters of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) hold a placard and a German flag during a march in Riesa, Germany, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Supporters of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD)

By Hawa lawal

A key political ally has called for the overhaul of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel refugee policies which he blamed for a humiliating weekend loss in a state election.

Seehofer, Premier of the southern state of Bavaria, and the Bavarian-based allies of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in the national parliament, on Tuesday in Berlin attributed the Sunday’s “disastrous” outcome in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern election result to Merkel’s liberal refugee policy.

Seehofer, who is also the Chief of the arch-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), in his comments underline the deep divisions in the chancellor’s ruling coalition caused by the arrival during the last year of about 1 million refugees to Germany.

“The situation is highly threatening for the CDU-CSU, and people don’t want the Berlin policy, it’s not worth the stress.

Seehofer, also disclosed that the CSU has also renewed its call for the chancellor to step up border controls and impose an upper limit on the number of refugees entering Germany.

He also stressed that apart from refugees and immigration, he is demanding that the chancellor clarify her government’s stance on taxation, security and pensions by October.

Observers noted that Seehofer has long railed against the welcoming approach to refugees and has threatened legal action if she does not change path.

They said that the battle between Merkel and Seehofer on refugees and immigration has been a key factor in the slump in support for the CDU-CSU bloc.

They also confirmed that CDU was beaten back into a humiliating third place in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern election following a surge in support for the new right-wing populist Alternative for Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats were beaten into third place by the anti-immigrant and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in a north-eastern state election on Sunday, TV exit polls showed.

Reuters news agency reported that the stinging defeat for Merkel in her home district could weaken her chances of a fourth term in next year’s federal elections.

The agency reported that the upstart AfD took 21.9 percent of the vote behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in their first election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern by campaigning hard against the chancellor’s policies on refugees.

“This isn’t pretty for us,” said Michael Grosse-Broemer, one of Merkel’s top deputies in parliament in Berlin in a ZDF TV interview. “Those who voted for the AfD were sending a message of protest.”

Merkel’s approval rating has plunged to a five-year low of 45 percent, down from 67 percent a year ago, due to spreading disenchantment with her open-door policies on refugees.


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