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Majority of Germans dissatisfied with government: poll
From:Xinhua  |  2018-07-06 20:23

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BERLIN, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The bitter infighting between coalition parties over asylum policy has started to toll on German federal government's reputation, as a majority of German citizens say they are unhappy with the government in a recent poll published by the public broadcaster "ARD" Thursday night.

According to the "Deutschlandtrend" poll, a regular and representative poll conducted by the Infratest dimap institute, 78 percent of German citizens were unhappy with the work of the federal government in July. The figure marked a steep rise in the proportion of dissatisfied voters by 15 percent compared to June.

The "grand coalition" formed by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and German Social Democrats (SPD) has only recently resolved a broiling dispute over asylum policy.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had threatened to resign and bring down Chancellor Angela Merkel's (CDU) entire cabinet unless she backed his plans for a stricter national migration policy regime or found a credible alternative at the European level.

Following the announcement of new but still-vaguely defined joint asylum policies by the European Union (EU), a compromise was reached between the CDU, CSU and SPD whereby the parties agreed to establish German "transit centers" to detain asylum seekers already registered in the EU before arranging their transfer to another responsible member state.

The poll also suggests that most voters approve of these new measures, with 61 percent of respondents in favor of the erection of transit-centers.

Nevertheless, the welcome end to cabinet infighting did little to restore the popularity of Seehofer who was seen as the driving force behind the escalation of the government row. The interior minister's approval rate collapsed by 16 percentage points to 27 percent in July, the lowest ever level measured for the CSU leader in "Deutschlandtrend" polls. 73 percent of respondents expressed the view that Seehofer's behavior had damaged the traditional legislative alliance formed by the CDU and CSU.

Additionally, 70 percent of respondents said they believed that the CSU prioritized its own interests over the success of the federal government. The CSU has faced growing criticism for trying to stoke popular fears in relation to the 2015 "refugee crisis" in order to ward off a challenge from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in looming regional elections in its Bavarian homestead.

Meanwhile, Merkel's approval rating dipped by a relatively modest 2 percentage points to 48 percent.

But on a party level, the CDU led by Merkel experienced a greater loss of voter confidence (minus 15 percentage points) than the CSU (minus 11 percentage points) compared to readings ahead of Germany's federal elections back in September.

The SPD, which only played a minor role in the cabinet conflict, escaped relatively unscathed from the episode with an approval rating of 38 percent (minus 1 percentage point).

In a further sign that voters were tired of the government's lopsided fixation on asylum policy, 56 percent of respondents said that the subject occupied too much space in current political debate.聽