German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been booed and heckled by right-wing protesters while speaking at her final campaign rally in Munich two days before the polls that will likely put her in office for a fourth term.
“With whistling and yelling, one will surely not shape Germany’s future,” Merkel said at the Friday rally as the protesters began shouting and whistling even before she starts her address.
The loud noise, however, did not prevent the German leader from making her prepared 30-minute remarks.
The incident did not mark the first time Merkel was disrupted by right-wing protesters during her campaign trail for the September 24 election. Earlier in the month, the chancellor was grazed by a thrown tomato at a campaign rally in Heidelberg, though it did not cause her to lose her composure.
Polls suggest that the 63-year-old Merkel will be re-elected as Germany’s chancellor for the fourth time on Sunday, a post she has held since 2005, owing to what observers regard at her centrist policies.
Combined with a healthy economy and global uncertainty, that reputation has made her and her conservative CDU party a tough incumbent to defeat in the upcoming vote, giving CDU a double-digit lead in the polls over the Social Democrats (SPD) and their candidate Martin Schulz.
Merkel’s CDU are currently polling 36 percent of the vote. That opens up the possibility of another so-called “grand coalition” with their current partners — the Social Democrats.
This is while the far-right and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) appears set to win seats in the national parliament for the first time this year and may even emerge as the country’s third-largest party.
The AfD’s dramatic rise as a major party has been prompted in large part by Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the country’s borders, allowing more than 1 million refugees to seek asylum in Germany since then.
The AfD has exploited the concerns of many Germans that the influx of foreign refugees will have a negative impact on their daily lives.
This is while the result of a YouGov survey was published Friday in the local Die Welt newspaper, indicating that half of German electorate (out of a sample of 2,308 respondents) agreed with the slogan “Merkel must go!” chanted by right-wing protesters at her rallies.
Merkel’s key rival, SPD’s Martin Schulz, is campaigning on reforms, increased spending on schools and addressing gender disparities, which he accused Merkel of ignoring.