Angle Merkel is facing an uphill battle against SDP’s Martin Schulz to be Germany’s Chancellor
The embattled German leader is facing an uphill struggle to hold on to power as the Social Democrat Party (SPD) enjoys a popularity boost after it was announced EU chief Martin Schulz would run for the top job.
Six months before the momentous election in Europe’s biggest economy is set to take place, a poll by Forsa shows 59 per cent of Germans want a change in top leadership.
However, the poll also revealed a decline in Mr Schulz popularity as it put the SPD down one point at 31 percent.
Angel Merkel facing challenge as poll says 59 per cent want 'change in leadership'
Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) were up one point at 34 per cent in comparison to a previous poll, which took place last week.
The poll of 2,504 Germans also showed if the German national elections were to take place today, Mrs Merkel would win 41 per cent of the vote, up two points from last week, and Mr Schulz would get 33 percent, down three points.
Populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) remained unchanged at nine per cent.
Mrs Merkel faces her first real test of popularity ahead of the national election when voters go to the polls in the state in Saarland on Sunday.
And as polls put SPD at 34 per cent last week in the region famed for coal mining, up from 24 per cent at the start of the year, there are now fears the embattled German leader could lose the crucial state.
Merkel’s popularity will be tested when voters go to the polls in the state of Saarland on Sunday Angela Merkel's ever changing face Mon, March 20, 2017
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and her ever changing face
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Saarland is ruled by a coalition under Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and SPD, which mirrors the power sharing within the federal government in Berlin.
However, the rise of the far-left Linke Party could see it form a coalition with the SPD, and possibly the Green Party, in a “red-red-green” alliance.
The move towards a leftist social justice alliance could shatter Mrs Merkel’s hopes for a fourth-term in power, ending her 12-year reign as chancellor of Germany.
However, a separate Forsa poll of 1,022 German citizens showed only 19 percent of Germans backed the alliance and put the Greens and Left on seven per cent each.