40 percent of Germans want Merkel to quit over refugees

New poll shows dissatisfaction with Chancellor’s welcoming stance towards asylum seekers from Middle East and Africa.

Merkel and her coalition partners have agreed to tighten Germany's asylum rules [Michael Kappeler/AP/File]

Forty percent of Germans want Chancellor Angela Merkel to quit over her refugee policy after nearly 1.1 million refugees have arrived in the country in the past year, according to a new poll.

The poll for Focus magazine, conducted by the independent opinion research institute Insa, showed on Friday a sign of rising dissatisfaction with Merkel’s welcoming stance towards asylum seekers fleeing conflict and economic hardship in the Middle East and Africa.

Yet, 45.2 percent out of the 2,047 German citizens questioned said they did not believe Merkel’s refugee policy was a reason for her to resign.

It was the first time the pollster had asked voters whether Merkel should quit. The survey was conducted between January 22 and January 25.

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Another poll also released on Friday, by the Elector Research Group, showed support for Merkel’s conservative bloc was steady at 37 percent – as recently as September they were on 42 percent.

Support for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) was also unchanged at 24 percent.

The three ruling parties – Merkel’s Christian Democrats, their Bavarian allies, and the SPD – are eager to show voters that the government is in control of the refugee crisis before three states vote in March and a general election next year.

Merkel has pledged to “tangibly” reduce the number of refugees and asylum seekers arriving this year with a range of measures in Germany, on the European level and with the help of international partners such as Turkey.

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She struck an accord late on Thursday with her fractious left-right coalition to tighten asylum policies, notably by making it easier to send back arrivals from North Africa and by delaying family reunifications.

Earlier this week, the cabinet approved measures that are meant to make it easier to deport foreign criminals – a separate package that ministers drew up amid outrage over the New Year’s Eve assaults in Cologne, which have been blamed largely on foreigners.

Source: News Agencies