| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

Bavarian Leader reaffirms support for Laschet despite poll dip

On Thursday, Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder rejected demands to replace Armin Laschet as the conservative candidate to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in September’s election, instead putting his support behind Laschet’s floundering campaign.

Laschet, the Premier of Germany’s most populous region, began the campaign with poll leads of up to 25%, but blunders and voter skepticism have chipped away at his lead, with the Social Democrats (SPD) now holding a small lead in some fresh surveys.

Soeder, the leader of Germany’s conservative bloc’s minor parties, was Laschet’s major competitor for the conservative nomination and is the only politician with ratings comparable to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the SPD candidate.

Soeder stated in Munich that “he (Laschet) will be a strong chancellor,” dismissing demands for the conservatives to reconsider their decision. “He has my whole support… The choice has been made: Armin Laschet has been chosen as our candidate.”

Laschet, who was lambasted for blunders such as appearing to giggle in the background while the country’s president paid tribute to over 200 victims of German floods, positioned himself as a centrist heir to Merkel but has failed to convince voters that he shares her trademark unflappability.

Soeder cautioned that voting for Laschet may result in a left-wing administration, which he said he was confident German people did not want.

“I am confident that German people do not desire a leftward shift,” he added.

In a Kantar survey released on Thursday, the conservatives and SPD were tied at 23 percent, with the Greens in third place at 18 percent. For the first time in 15 years, the SPD was polled ahead in a recent survey.

  • Reuters