German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has regained the lead in polls ahead of Germany’s general election in September.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, took a surprising lead in some polls in February. CDU and its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) have since been neck-and-neck with SPD.
An Emnid institute poll released Sunday shows CDU/CSU now lead by eight points. Merkel’s ticket would receive 37 percent of the votes against Schulz’s 29 percent. Merkel is still short of winning her own majority as a coalition with the Free Democrats only reach 42 percent.
Populists Alternative for Germany (AfD) would get 9 percent, according to the poll.
Merkel has taken a tougher stance on immigration during her campaign to secure a fourth term in office. The chancellor vowed to return all migrants who don’t qualify for asylum during a rally Thursday in the rural town of Beverungen. She further called out local officials who “tried to sweep under the carpet” the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve in 2015.
“The opportunity for improvement was there,” Merkel said at the rally, Bloomberg reports. “Things didn’t get better, so it’s time for a change.”
The German election will be held Sept. 24.
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