Merkel’s Bloc Retreats in Poll as Would-Be Successor Struggles

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Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party bloc declined in a poll that suggested momentum for the Social Democrats and their candidate, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

The weekly Insa poll hints at the challenge faced by Armin Laschet, the leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, who’s running to replace her after the Sept. 26 federal election. Scholz is the most popular candidate for chancellor and widened his lead over Laschet in the approval ratings, according to Bild am Sonntag, which commissions the poll.

Merkel’s Bloc Retreats in Poll as Would-Be Successor Struggles

This week’s numbers suggest an emerging coalition option of a Social Democrat-led government with the Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats as partners, according to the newspaper.

Merkel’s bloc, which comprises the CDU and the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union, declined 1 percentage point to 26%, while the Social Democrats gained 1 point to draw level with the Greens at 18% each. The FDP fell 1 point to 12%.

If replicated on election day, the combined 48% support for the SPD, Greens and FDP would give the three parties a potential parliamentary majority to elect the next chancellor, Bild am Sonntag reported.

Merkel, 67, isn’t running for a fifth term after 16 years at the helm of the government of Europe’s biggest economy. Laschet, 60, has drawn criticism for his response to flooding that killed at least 170 people in western Germany in July.

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