Merkel Tied With Socialist Candidate Ahead Of German Election

REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke.

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is neck and neck with Social Democrat (SPD) Martin Schultz in a poll released Thursday ahead of the general election in September.

The survey from Infratest dimap puts both candidates at 41 percent support in their bids for the chancellory. Schultz has managed to close a 7-point gap since December.

Schultz is returning to German politics after 23 years in the European Parliament — where he most recently served as president. He has yet to present any kind of platform, but he shares Merkel’s open-border immigration stance.

Volker Kauder, group leader for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the German parliament, said Schultz’s emergence is natural “when someone new steps onto the stage,” according to Deutsche Welle.

The main obstacle for Schultz will be to close the 12-point margin between CDU and SPD. The chancellor is usually selected from the largest party after a parliamentary vote.

The same poll showed CDU would win 35 percent of the vote if an election was held this weekend, down two percentage points from the last poll. SPD received 23 percent’s support, an increase of three percentage points.

Voters were sampled Wednesday, a day after Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel left the race.

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