September 23, 2005

Germans prefer Merkel as chancellor: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - More Germans want conservative leader
Angela Merkel to become the next chancellor than want incumbent
Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, a new poll showed on Friday.

The survey, by the Emnid polling institute, indicated 47
percent of Germans wanted Merkel in the Chancellery against 44
percent who preferred Schroeder.

Merkel's conservatives narrowly edged Schroeder's Social
Democrats (SPD) in last Sunday's election, but not by enough
for Schroeder to concede defeat.

He has argued that Merkel's showing in the vote, which was
far poorer than pollsters had predicted, demonstrates that
Germans want him to stay in office.

As neither conservatives nor the SPD are able to form a
government with their preferred partners, they have been forced
to talk with each other about the possibility of sharing power.

The key hurdle to such a deal is an agreement between the
parties on who should be the next chancellor.

The poll also showed that 73 percent of Germans were
against new elections to settle the standoff.

One in four Germans wants a "grand coalition" between
Merkel and Schroeder's parties, while one in three prefers a
coalition with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their sister
party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the liberal Free
Democrats (FDP) and the environmentalist Greens.