40pc Germans want Merkel to quit


Nearly 40 percent of German voters think Chancellor Angela Merkel should quit over her liberal asylum policy after almost 1.1 million newcomers arrived last year, a poll showed yesterday.

As the mood in Germany has shifted from a euphoric welcome for people fleeing war and persecution last September to growing doubts about the country’s ability to accommodate and integrate the record influx, the popular Merkel has come under increasing pressure.

However, the poll for Focus news magazine conducted by the independent opinion research institute Insa among 2 047 German citizens showed that a larger share – nearly 45 percent – did not think Merkel should resign.

Among members of her conservative Christian Union bloc, nearly 27 percent said they wanted Merkel, who has been in power since 2005, to step down.

Merkel has pledged to “tangibly” reduce the number of migrants and asylum seekers arriving this year with a range of measures in Germany, on the European level and with the help of international partners such as Turkey.

She struck an accord late Thursday with her fractious left-right coalition to tighten asylum policies, notably by making it easier to send back arrivals from North Africa and by delaying family reunifications.

The survey was conducted January 22-25.

Meanwhile, Germany will place Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on the list of “safe countries of origin”, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel announced Thursday, in a move that will make it easier to reject asylum requests from those nationals.

“Now we will . . .legally declare the three countries, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as safe countries,” Social Democrat leader Gabriel said after a meeting with the heads of the two other coalition parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democrats and Horst Seehofer of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union.

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