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Merkel says her conservatives face tough battle after 16 years in power

Amnon Free Press/Central Press Syndicate, USA. Read, Enjoy and Share the Latest US News Updates.

September 9, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel said on Thursday that nobody in her conservative bloc had ever doubted that they faced a tough battle to hold the chancellery after her 16 years in office, declining to speculate on the outcome of Germany’s Sept. 26 national election.

“That after 16 years one does not automatically … return to the chancellery, that was clear to everyone in the CDU and CSU,” she told a news conference, adding that she anticipated a closely fought election.

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Merkel is not running for a historic fifth term in the election, and Armin Laschet, the conservatives’ candidate to succeed her, is struggling in polls, which show Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats in the lead.

Scholz, the second most powerful figure in the ruling ‘grand coalition’, is pitching himself https://reut.rs/3yfLNmy as the candidate best placed to continue the course set by Merkel, who is still very popular with voters.

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Asked by a reporter what it was she valued about Scholz, she said: “What I most value about Mr Scholz is that when he and I agree on something, we both stick to our commitments.”

With her conservatives trailing Scholz’s Social Democrats in polls, Merkel made an impassioned plea https://reut.rs/3BKK1fB to German voters on Tuesday to back her would-be centre-right successor Laschet at the election.

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Laschet’s promise of “steadfastness” is failing to resonate with voters worried about climate change, immigration and the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Paul Carrel)

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