Wednesday

1st Jun 2016

Focus

German centre-right election posters show Merkel, not Juncker

  • Merkel is not running for an MEP seat, but she is already on all CDU billboards (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Jean-Claude Juncker may be the centre-right's chosen candidate for the role of President of the European Commission, but his face is nowhere to be seen on German MEP election posters.

Forty days ahead of European elections, parties have started putting up posters and billboards.

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  • David McAllister (r) is the top CDU candidate for the EU elections (Photo: Valentina Pop)

While the Social-Democrats in Germany have Martin Schulz's face on their campaign material – the socialists' top candidate, both in Germany as number one on their MEP election list and Europe-wide as their nomination for commission president – the Christian-Democrats are going with a smiling Angela Merkel, even though she is not running for a seat in the European Parliament.

To make matters more complicated, the CDU also has regional leading candidates and a national top candidate – David McAllister – a former Prime Minister of Lower Saxony and a Merkel protegee.

Speaking to foreign journalists in Berlin on Tuesday (15 April), McAllister appeared nonplussed by the "strange debate" regarding Juncker's absence from the outdoor campaign.

He said that relations between the former Luxembourg leader and the Chancellor were very good and that it was her party who nominated Juncker as top candidate for the European People's Party last month in Dublin.

"Juncker is well-respected in Germany, he is also German-speaking, he will come to several events in Germany ahead of the elections," McAllister said.

But he also said that any campaign manager for the Christian Democrats (CDU) would put Merkel on the billboards "because she is a very popular politician in Germany".

"If the Social-Democrats had her [as a member], they would put her too," he quipped.

The half-Scottish politician, who unexpectedly lost the leadership of Lower Saxony in regional elections last year, was tipped as a potential Merkel successor.

He then found he had "a lot of time on his hands" and started learning French and "after consulting Merkel" decided to run for an MEP seat.

McAllister said the CDU is aiming to become the largest group in the European Parliament once again and to elect Juncker as head of the European Commission.

"It will be a tight race [with the Social Democrats], but we are confident we can win. The EPP looks good in Germany, Spain, Poland, in France it is coming back, too," McAllister said, referring to member states that have the greatest number of seats in the European Parliament.

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