German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed her government”s achievements and criticised the potential for a left-wing administration in a speech to lawmakers ahead of the country’s upcoming parliamentary election.
Merkel said that her party’s chancellor candidate Armin Laschet would lead a government that stands for “stability” and “moderation”, adding that it would be “exactly what Germany needs.”
She spoke of the achievements in her final term, stating that Germany had made “significant progress” in digitisation and infrastructure while admitting that there are “small difficulties in many places”.
The outgoing chancellor was attempting to boost her would-be successor Laschet, governor of Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, amid falling poll numbers.
Recent polls have shown that Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) falling behind the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).
Green candidate Annalena Baerbock, whose party is polling in third place, told parliament that the election would be the last chance for the government to alter climate change.
Merkel warned that a government led by her deputy Olaf Scholz, who leads the SPD, would include the opposition “Left Party” which is against NATO and German missions abroad.
She also rebuked Scholz for a comment in which he described people who were vaccinated early against COVID-19, including himself, as “guinea pigs”. Scholz had added afterwards that vaccination had clearly worked and that those who were hesitant should also get the jab.
Merkel’s unusually partisan speech came during what was likely the last session of the Bundestag ahead of the September 26th election.
“We all agree that many more people must still be convinced to get vaccinated, but if we want to convince people, that has to be done with arguments and not with, to put it mildly, slanted pictures of ‘guinea pigs,'” Merkel said.
Scholz responded that people can be convinced with humour.
“If some people don’t want to laugh and get worked up about it, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they don’t have much to laugh about with a view to their poll ratings,” he said.
He also attacked the CDU’s programme, stating another government led by the centre-right “would cost Germany prosperity and jobs.”