Angela Merkel beats chief rival in TV debate ahead of German election

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to be heading for a fourth term in power after beating her chief challenger in a TV debate ahead of this month’s general election.

For Martin Schulz of the Centre-left SPD party the televised duel was his last chance to revive a flagging campaign.

But while he landed a few minor blows, most commentators thought the consummate politician “Mummy” Merkel had done enough to win the evening.

In typical German fashion the 90 minute faceoff was more a gentle trading of ideas – about refugees, the economy and even President Trump- than a political brawling match.

A live TV debate ahead of the German election (REUTERS)

Mr Schulz said the US president has “brought the world to the edge of a crisis” and cannot be trusted to resolve the standoff with North Korea. 

Mrs Merkel, leader of the country’s CDU Conservative party, was asked by a moderator state the values she shares with Trump – a question she did not directly answer.

Instead she went on about climate change and responses to the violence in Charlottesville as areas where there are “very clearly major differences.” 

And she insisted peaceful dialogue was the only way to deal with the regime of Kim Jong Un – a radically different approach to that of the current White House resident.

On the home front Mrs Merkel – seeking to retain her high-forty-percent-plus approval ratings, stuck to the script that the German economy was really only safe in her hands.

Mr Schulz, a former European Parliament president said he believed the economy could be managed better under an SPD government, as would the refuge crisis have been under his leadership.

In fact in pressing the domestic strife which the refugee crisis unleashed in Germany, Schulz seemed to have her rattled at times and defending herself was all she could do.

But it was probably enough. Snap polls conducted afterwards found most viewers finding Mrs. Merkel the most credible During the debate: ergo, its winner.

The media thought so too with the country’s most influential newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, declaring: “Schulz scored points but Mrs. Merkel won.”


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