The two parties that Merkel and Schultz represent are neck and neck in the latest poll
Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), who have named Martin Schultz as its candidate for chancellor, crept up to demand 32 per cent of the predicted vote, a two per cent increase from a fortnight ago.
The weekly poll, conducted by the Forsa institute for Stern magazine, showed support for Merkel's CDU and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) stable at 33 percent.
The results could lead to the SPD forming a coalition government with the Greens and Left, which in turn would remove Angela Merkel
Manfred Guellner, the head of Forsa
Manfred Guellner, the head of Forsa, said the results could lead to the SPD forming a coalition government with the Greens and Left, which in turn would remove Angela Merkel.
This would be possible as, on current estimates, they would have a combined score of 47 per cent – enough for a slim parliamentary majority.
'MERKEL MUST GO': Brussels protest against German Chancellor Tue, February 14, 2017
Angry campaigners held placards with slogans reading 'Merkel not welcomed' and 'Merkel must go' following a spate of terror attacks against Germany.
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Protest on the sidelines of Angela Merkel's official visit in Brussels
The institute put the poll's margin of error at 2.5 percentage points, meaning the parties are in a neck-and-neck race.
The poll, which asked for the views of some 2,500 voters, showed the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party down one per cent at eight per cent.
Support for the Greens party and the Left party were unchanged at eight and seven per cent, respectively.
Schulz has vowed to extend benefits for the unemployed if he wins Germany’s general election later this year.
The elections will take place on Sunday the 24th September
The former European Parliament president has already pledged to campaign against precarious employment arrangements and blames Mrs Merkel for rising inequality in Germany.
The party is keen to emphasise its left-wing roots as an alternative to Mrs Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) and position itself as a defender of social justice.
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Schultz has enjoyed recent success according to the latest poll
One major hurdle facing the SPD is the fact that it introduced many of the labour market rules it now opposes.
A so-called “Agenda 2010” package to deregulate the labour market and reform social security was implemented by former leader Gerhard Schröder in 2003 when many of Germany’s more lavish social benefits were axed.
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