Vaccine row: Angela Merkel looks ‘knackered’ says expert
Forsa’s poll, published today, puts the environmental party, led by Annalena Baerbock, narrowly ahead of the centre-right CDU, which is now led by Armin Laschet. Mrs Merkel is stepping down after September’s election – but Mr Laschet’s hopes of replacing her look to be hanging in the balance, with the Greens on 25 percent, the CDU on 24, the centre-left SPD on 14 and the liberal, pro-business FDP on 13.
The far-right Alternative For Germany (AfD) is on 10 percent, and socialists The Left are on six percent.
If the results of the poll were replicated in the election, the Greens would be the strongest party in the Bundestag, Germany’s legislature, winning 192 of the 711 seats up for grabs.
The CDU would take 188 seats, with the SPD on 108, the FDP on 100, the AfD on 77 and The Left on 46.
Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor
Annalena Baerbock, the Greens’ candidate for Chancellor
In terms of who would actually Government, the future remains unclear, although a coalition of some kind looks to be inevitable.
Together the Greens and the CDU could command a narrow majority with a combined total of 380 seats.
If the Greens joined forces with the SPD and the FDP, they would together have 400 seats.
JUST IN: EU to blame for ‘preventable’ deaths of refugees in Med – UN
Armin Laschet’s chances of replacing Mrs Merkel appear precarious
However, the current ruling CDU/SPD coalition, which would have just 296 seats, would be unable to take office, and neither would an alliance consisting of the Greens, the SPD and The Left, which would together have 346 seats.
Significantly, if Germans could vote for their leader directly, 28 percent would plump for former trampoline gymnast Ms Baerbock, 40, compared with just 18 percent for Mr Laschet, 60, who was elected CHU leader in January.
Mr Laschet is gearing up for a huge test on June 6, when the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt holds an election.
Brit expats ‘wrongly’ held in ‘fake’ residency papers row [INSIGHT]
Brexit LIVE: Frost fears ‘bumpy’ EU relationship and document leaked [LIVE BLOG]
Thornberry casts doubt on trade future as EU ruled policy for 50 years [VIDEO]
Markus Soeder is not keen on a coalition with the Greens
Olaf Scholz, the SPD’s leader and Vice-Chancellor
Failure to win there would be a massive blow to CDU hopes of winning September’s federal election, party officials say.
Speaking this week, Markus Soeder, leader of long-term partners the CSU, who stood aside last month to allow Mr Laschet to be installed as the alliance’s Chancellor candidate, appeared to rule out the prospect of a coalition with the Greens – as well as casting doubt over Mr Laschet’s prospects.
Referring to the ‘Black’ label by which the conservatives are known, he said: “I think Green-Black is wrong.
Angela Merkel factfile
“If the Union no longer provides the chancellor, then it is de facto voted out.
“And a party that has been voted out must embark on another path of renewal – in opposition.”
After she was officially nominated as the Greens’ candidate last month, Ms Baerbock said: “A new chapter begins today for our party and, if we do it well, for our country as well.
“With my candidacy, I would like to make an offer here today to the entire society, an invitation to lead our diverse, strong, rich country into a good future.
Armin Laschet beat Friedrich Merz to the CDU leadership in January
“I stand for renewal. Others stand for the status quo.”
Prior to that, in December, she told German newspaper Bild: “Nobody was born a Chancellor. Everyone would have to learn in office.
“So far, for example, I haven’t had a government office myself. Just like other candidates would have to learn what I bring with me, such as international experience and European connections.”
In contrast to Mr Laschet, Ms Baerbock is also a fierce critic of Germany’s controversial Nord Stream 2 project piping gas straight from Russia.
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)