Would Merkel’s Challenger Give Migrants Voting Rights?

Survey finds members of Germany's left-wing SDP want non-citizens to cast ballots

by Jim Stinson | 22 Feb 2017 at 10:45 AM

A majority of voters in the opposition party steadily chipping away at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s poll numbers favor giving residents without a European Union passport the right to vote.

The survey results were published by Civey, a German research firm.

“The right of suffrage with which the people exercise the power of the state presupposes German nationality.”

The results show just how liberal the opposition Social Democratic Party, or SPD, is. The survey found a majority within the Social Democrats — 63.7 percent — want non-citizens to vote.

Almost 65 percent of German Green Party voters also want the reform.

A majority of voters belonging to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union oppose the idea, with about 65.3 percent of party members saying no. And nearly all of German’s far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), oppose the idea, with almost 97 percent saying no, according to the German newspaper Die Welt.

German voters will head to the polls in September to pick a new chancellor and Merkel’s CDU has suffered declining fortunes in ballot test surveys since the start of the New Year.

Germans appear to be in the mood for change. By the time Germans vote later this year, Merkel will have held the chancellor’s office for almost 12 years.

Merkel’s exceedingly liberal approach to allowing Middle Eastern migrants to find asylum in Germany has been a significant source of tension within her parliamentary coalition. The new poll could indicate frustrated opponents of Merkel’s open borders agenda could have far more to fear from a SPD victory.


Hans-Peter Uhl, a leader within Merkel's party, said he opposes any change to voting rights for non-German citizens.

"The right of suffrage with which the people exercise the power of the state presupposes German nationality," said Uhl, according to a translation from Die Welt, one of Germany's largest publications.

Merkel faces tough competition from Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, who is the Social Democratic Party's chancellor nominee. Merkel lags behind Schulz in some polls, but Germans do not vote directly for their leader.

Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats are getting 34 percent of the vote, with the liberal Social Democrats coming in at 31 percent, according to Forsa, a European polling company. The poll was released today, according to Europe Online magazine.

  1. europe
  2. angela-merkel
  3. european-union
  4. germany
  5. immigration
  6. refugee

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