Merkel toppled from popularity throne

Merkel toppled from popularity throne
Steinmeier has enjoyed a strong start in the foreign ministry. Photo: DPA
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has overtaken Angela Merkel to become Germany’s most popular politician, a poll on Friday showed, with the Chancellor slipping from the top spot for the first time in two years.

A 17-percentage point surge since the last ARD-Germany Trend poll in December meant Steinmeier just pipped Merkel to the post.

Seventy percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with how the Social Democrat (SPD) veteran was performing in his job as foreign minister, compared to 69 percent for Merkel.  

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, from Merkel’s CDU party, occupied third place, as 68 percent of those polled said they were happy with his work.

Politicians from either side of the coalition shared fourth spot – Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) and Thomas de Maizière (CDU) each scored 49 percent.

Poll respondents were less pleased with the performances of Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who fell six points to 43 points, while Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister party, the CSU, plunged ten points to 38 percent. 

Von der Leyen has started in her new post by looking to increase German troop numbers abroad, something which does not sit well with most Germans.

Steinmeier, who served as foreign minister from 2005-09, has also been busy globetrotting in a sign Germany will pursue a more active foreign policy.

READ MORE: Merkel lays out plans for next four years

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