Merkel still election favourite despite testing TV debate

Randolph Lopez
September 4, 2017

Angela Merkel has unexpectedly promised to try to end Turkey's European Union accession talks in a live televised German election debate on Monday (AEST), amid escalating tensions between Berlin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Schulz - who left his position as president of the European Parliament in January to run for chancellor - called Merkel's open-door refugee policy a "serious mistake", arguing she should have cooperated with European allies instead.

"A point has been reached where we need to end the economic relationship, the financial relationship, the customs union and the accession talks", Schulz said during the 90-minute debate.

Merkel herself said in her closing statement she was dissatisfied with the issues covered, and listed the challenges facing the country before adding with a reassuring smile: "I believe we can manage it together".

Telephone polls following Sunday's debate put Merkel ahead of Schulz, though in Germany the chancellor is elected by parliament.

But, while viewers were impressed with his aggression, they judged Ms Merkel the overall victor of the encounter. In another poll for ARD television, Merkel emerged as the clear victor - 55 percent of respondents said she was the more convincing, while only 35 percent held that view about Schulz. A survey by Infratest Dimap for ARD television showed her overall performance was viewed as more convincing by 55 %, compared to 35 % for Schulz.

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Schulz said that he agreed with the policy of granting asylum to those in need and argued that Germany had to meet its worldwide commitments.

Merkel foreshadowed last night's U-turn late last week when she said it might be time to "rethink" relations with Turkey, after another two German citizens were arrested there.

Ms Merkel balanced her newfound hard line over accession with promises to maintain dialogue with Turkey, not least over the 12 detained Germans.

Brussels, which has already frozen Turkey's entry negotiations, is now likely to consider further actions.

No - she is sure to lead a coalition government, once again. "Of course, with Japan and South Korea, as well as with the American President", said Merkel.

But both leaders agreed to promise action on one of the most sensitive political issues, delays in the deportation of failed asylum seekers.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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