Angela Merkel's coalition on course to be re-elected in Germany - poll
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and their junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), are on course to win enough votes to form a narrow majority, a poll showed today, before an election on Sept. 22.
Together with the FDP, Merkel's conservatives would take 46 percent of the vote in the parliamentary election, the Forsa poll showed. The three main opposition parties - the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the far-left Linke (Left) party - would get 45 percent.
Merkel's centre-right coalition has long held a lead over the SPD and Greens, which have ruled out a national government with the Linke party.
The SPD fell 2 percentage points to 22 percent in the poll, lower than its 2009 election result of 23 percent, which was the party's worst post-war performance.
The FDP gained one percentage point to hit 6 percent, rising above the 5 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.
The Greens gained 2 percentage points to reach 15 percent and Linke fell one point to 8 percent.
Given the chance to vote for the chancellor directly, 58 percent said they would choose Merkel. Just 18 percent backed her main challenger, the SPD's Peer Steinbrueck.
"People have the impression that the chancellor candidate and his party are not pulling in the same direction," Forsa head Manfred Guellner said of the SPD.
At the weekend Steinbrueck rebuked Sigmar Gabriel after the SPD party chairman criticised him in a meeting.