Angela Merkel may face 'disaster' in elections says expert

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A devastating third wave of coronavirus infections is sweeping across Europe but Germany still has thousands of unused doses and is struggling to impose lockdown rules on a weary population. Ms Merkel has called on health chiefs to demonstrate more flexibility in their bureaucratic approach to the vaccine programme which has led to 80-year-olds having to fill in 10 forms before they go for their jabs.

Perhaps we’re very perfectionist at times and want to do everything right

Angela Merkel

She said: “Perhaps we’re very perfectionist at times and want to do everything right, because obviously whoever makes a mistake always faces quite a lot of public criticism.

“But there needs to be flexibility too.

“That, I believe, is an attribute that we as Germans perhaps need to learn a little bit more, alongside our tendency towards perfectionism.”

This “perfectionism” has led to just 10 percent of Germany’s adult population receiving their first dose of the vaccine and the country does not even make the list of top 20 nations in terms of rates worldwide.

Britain has so far vaccinated 55 percent of its population while the US has a rate of 25 percent.

Ms Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun said Germany must bring down coronavirus infections in the next few weeks or risk new virus mutations that are resistant to vaccines.

She said: “We are in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic.

“The next few weeks will determine whether we can foreseeably get the pandemic under control.”

She continued: “If the number of infections rises rapidly again there is a growing danger that the next virus mutation will become resistant to the vaccine.

“Then we would need new vaccines, then we would have to start vaccinating all over again.”

Support for Ms Merkel’s ruling coalition has taken a hammering in the opinion polls as a result with the Greens closing in to just two points behind them ahead of a national election in September.

Support for the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian CSU sister party – together dubbed the “Union” – has plunged to 25 percent, according to a Kantar poll published yesterday.

The fall of two percentage points from the previous week was the fourth consecutive decline in support for the conservative alliance to a level not seen since early March last year.

The CDU suffered defeats in two state elections earlier this month, dogged by frustration over the shambolic vaccine campaign, flip-flopping over virus restrictions and a face mask procurement scandal.

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Bavarian premier and CSU leader Markus Soeder, a possible contender to replace Ms Merkel as chancellor in September, said: “There is a change of mood in the country.

“The Union must show that it still has strength and ideas and is not exhausted and worn out.

“It needs new beginnings now.”

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