Some four months ahead of Germany’s national elections, an opinion poll released Friday showed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU-FDP coalition still without a parliamentary majority to continue governing.
In the survey by the Infratest dimap institute, combined support for Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU bloc and the free-market orientated FDP stood at 45%, unchanged from the previous survey.
The other parties currently represented in parliament – the center-left SPD, the ecological Greens and the post-communist Left party – were credited with 47%, up one point.
Asked which party they would vote for if elections were to take place this Sunday, 41% in the poll backed the CDU/CSU, unchanged from the previous survey. The FDP’s share stagnated at 4% and thus below the 5% threshold for representation in parliament.
The SPD rose one point to 27%. The Greens remained at 14%. The Left was unchanged at 6%. The newly founded AfD party, which wants Germany to leave monetary union, was credited with only 2% of voter support. >> Read More
It is still early days in the German election campaign, but the political temperature is rising four months before polling day.
The gap between Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union and the centre-left Social Democratic party has started to shrink for the first time in months.
A scandal over tax evasion involving Uli Hoeness, president of Bayern Munich football club and close to the ruling CDU and its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union, is one factor. The rise of a new eurosceptic party seeking to woo dissident conservatives is another. The CDU/CSU bloc has seen its support slip to 37 per cent in one recent poll and the SPD has picked up to 27 per cent.
In spite of her personal popularity, the chance of a shock defeat for Germany’s chancellor has unsettled the mood among her supporters and revived the hopes of an opposition that has been trailing in the polls.
So what would it take to unseat Ms Merkel, the most powerful politician in Europe? >> Read More
South Korea voiced regret Thursday at North Korea’s decision to spurn an offer of formal talks on removing goods from a joint industrial complex closed by military tensions.
“It’s very regrettable,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Suk, again urging Pyongyang to negotiate over the South Korean firms forced to withdraw from the Kaesong zone, 10 kilometres (six miles) inside North Korea.
At the request of President Park Geun-Hye, the Unification Ministry formally proposed talks at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the Korean peninsula.
But the North reacted negatively on Wednesday, calling the offer “a crafty ploy” to deflect blame for the suspension of operations at Kaesong. >> Read More
A view of the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the Austrian capital of Vienna (file photo)
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have started a fresh round of negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh and the agency™s Deputy Director General and Head of the Safeguards Department Herman Nackaerts opened the talks on Wednesday.
The ongoing talks are the 10th round of the negotiations between Iran and the IAEA over the Islamic Republic™s nuclear energy program since early 2012.
In an interview with Press TV on Monday, Soltanieh said he expected progress to be made in this round of the talks.
The previous round of the negotiations was held in mid-February in Iran™s capital, Tehran. >> Read More
North Korea, May 14 (UPI) – North Korea’s official media, blaming the U.S.-South Korean naval exercise, said Tuesday tensions on the Korean Peninsula have not eased as assumed.
The Rodong Sinmun, the Worker’s Party of Korea newspaper regarded as reflecting the state policy, said in an article monitored in South Korea that the naval exercise in the East Sea are making conditions on the peninsula precarious, Yonhap News reported.
North Korea under its unpredictable new leader Kim Jong Un had waged a relentless campaign of threats and issuing provocative statements against South Korea and the United States after the United Nations Security Council tightened sanctions over the North’s Feb. 12 nuclear test. The threats even included preemptive nuclear strikes.
However, those threats have eased lately after warnings that any provocative act would invite a firm response. >> Read More
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta warned his center-right coalition partners on Sunday that the future of the government was at risk following a furious row over Silvio Berlusconi’s attacks on magistrates in a rally at the weekend.
Simmering tensions between the partners in Letta’s uneasy coalition between traditional rivals on the right and left broke out into the open after the rally in the northern city of Brescia attended by ministers from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party.
Berlusconi accused magistrates of trying to eliminate him politically, after his appeal against a four-year jail sentence for tax fraud was rejected last week.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, the PDL party secretary, was present at the demonstration, drawing accusations from members of Letta’s center-left Democratic Party (PD) that he was endorsing the attack on the magistracy. >> Read More
Nawaz Sharif declared victory for his centre-right party in Pakistan’s landmark elections Saturday, as unofficial partial results put him on course to win a historic third term as premier.
The result represented a remarkable comeback for a man who was deposed as premier in a 1999 military coup and came after millions of people defied polling day attacks that left 24 dead to participate in the high-turnout vote.
Flanked by his close family, Sharif gave a victory speech to hundreds of jubilant supporters who shouted “prime minister Nawaz Sharif” at his centre-right Pakistan Muslim League-N party headquarters in Lahore.
“Whatever promises we made with our youth, I assure you that we fulfil each of them. Results are still coming but there is a confirmation that PML-N will emerge as the largest party,” he said, inviting other parties to work with him. >> Read More
Pawan Kumar Bansal, under fire over his nephew’s alleged involvement in bribery for a top railway board posting, resigned today as Railway Minister.
According to sources and TV reports, Bansal sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this afternoon.
The sources said Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge may be country’s new Railway Minister. >> Read More
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has told Chinese President Xi Jinping that a nuclear Iran would threaten the free flow of oil through the Hormuz Straits. During his visit to China, Netanyahu”s discussions shifted from economic discussions to the Middle East. According to the Jerusalem Post, an official in the prime minister”s entourage said Netanyahu told Jinping that in the current struggles taking place in the Middle East, China, like Israel, has an interest that the ”more moderate, non-fanatical” side should win. Netanyahu said that Iran does not only endanger regional peace and security, but also the oil flow. He said that if the Islamic Republic without nuclear arms was willing to support terrorism and back the overthrow of governing regimes, then one could only imagine what they would do with a nuclear umbrella. He said that there is only one thing the Iranians have not yet done and that is block the flow of oil through the Hormuz Straits. According to this logic, such a move would be more likely if Iran acquired nuclear weapons because it would be less prone to retaliation.
- Signals Merkel Would Have To Govern With Center-Left Parties
BERLIN (MNI) – Less than five months ahead of Germany’s national elections, an opinion poll released Tuesday showed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU-FDP coalition still being without a parliamentary majority to continue governing.
In the survey by the INSA institute, combined support for Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU bloc and the free-market orientated FDP stood at 42%, down one percentage point from the previous survey.
The other parties currently represented in parliament – the center-left SPD, the ecological Greens and the post-communist Left party – were credited with 48%, also down one point. >> Read More