Leader in coalition blames Merkel for German shift to the right

A Social Democrat leader and member of Germany's governing coalition has blamed Chancellor Angela Merkel for the country's political shift to the right, conservative daily newspaper Die Welt reported on Sunday.

Thomas Opperman, Social Democrat parliamentary leader and a senior member of Merkel's coalition, added his voice to growing criticism of the chancellor for shifting her traditionally conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDU) so far to the centre that some voters have opted for right-wing alternatives.

Germany's right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which was founded in 2013 and is currently polling at around 9 per cent, has made significant gains in recent months by campaigning for stringent immigration controls as Germany faces an unprecedented influx of refugees.

"Merkel is rendering millions of citizens politically homeless," Opperman told the newspaper. "This is a serious failure and an explanation for the fact that even moderate voters are opting for the AfD."

Merkel has been widely criticized for coopting many of the centre-left's political messages, thereby rendering the opposition - currently made up of the Left Party (Die Linke) and the environmentalist Greens - near redundant and causing alienation among her conservative voters.

Oppermann also blamed Merkel's open-door policy towards refugees for the waning of support from within her traditional voter base.

"Mrs Merkel must give people the unadulterated truth about integration and the difficulties that come with it," he said. "Unfortunately, her [party and its Bavarian ally] have failed to do this thus far."

Last update: Sun, 03/01/2016 - 14:59

More from Europe

Germany, US, others offer to bolster NATO presence around Black Sea

Six NATO countries, including the United States and Germany, offered Wednesday to help bolster the alliance's...

Three earthquakes in Italy cause "apocalyptic" damage, but no victims

Three major earthquakes Wednesday struck a region in central Italy that had already been hit by a deadly seismic...

Belgium closes in on CETA deal as Thursday summit hangs in balance

Belgian regional governments were closing in on a compromise late Wednesday that would allow the country to approve...

Putin: Ukraine cutting power off in Crimea was "serious crime"

Ukraine's shut-off of electricity and drinking water to Crimea following Russia's annexation of the peninsula was "...

Russia drops request for navy to use Spanish port under NATO pressure

Russia has withdrawn its request for warships to use the Spanish port of Ceuta on the Mediterranean Sea, the Russian...