With a passionate defense of her migrant policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel threw herself into one last campaign push on the eve of “Super Sunday” elections in three German states that risk weakening her.
Migration is the touchstone issue in the three votes – two in western states, and one in the east – with many people worried how Germany can cope with a refugee crisis that saw over 1 million migrants arrive in the country last year.
Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) have been losing support to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has profited from popular angst about migrants after her high-risk decision last year to open Germany’s borders to refugees fleeing war in Syria.
“There are situations in life – and this was the case last autumn – when you can’t hold a long debate on principles,” Merkel said, defending her decision. “People are suddenly there and need protection,” she told a CDU rally in Baden-Wuerttemberg, one of the three states voting on Sunday.
Already represented in five of Germany’s 16 regional parliaments, the AfD looks set to burst into three more on Sunday, campaigning on slogans such as “Secure the borders! Stop the asylum chaos!”
Now Merkel, in power since 2005 and facing a federal election next year, is trying to secure a Europe-wide solution to stem the flow of refugees. She alarmed many European Union leaders at a summit this week by gambling on a last-minute draft deal with Turkey to stop the migrant flow, and demanding their support.
Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at an international economic policy research institution, talked to CCTV on the “Super Sunday.”
Jacob Kirkegaard on Germany\'s \"Super Sunday\"Jacob Kirkegaard, Senior Fellow at an international economic policy research institution, talked to CCTV on the "Super Sunday."
Story from Reuters.