Almost half of Germans want Angela Merkel to quit over her handling of the refugee crisis

40 per cent said Ms Merkel should resign in a turnaround public response after her previous widespread popularity

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The Independent Online

Almost half of all Germans want Angela Merkel to quit following the way she dealt with more than one million refugees fleeing the Middle East and arriving in the country in the past year. 

The poll, which has been conducted by Focus magazine, was released just hours after Ms Merkel announced she would toughen rules on claiming asylum in Germany following the Cologne attacks on New Year’s Eve. 

Of the 2,047 Germans surveyed, 40 per cent said Ms Merkel should resign, which is a turnaround from only a few months ago where she received widespread approval in Germany. 

Increasing pressure from members of her conservative bloc encouraged her to take a tougher approach on asylum seekers coming to Germany. 

She said she would use a range of measures to reduce the numbers of refugees arriving, along with the help of international partners such as Turkey. 

The new measures include a two-year ban on family reunions for asylum seekers who are granted a limited refugee protection.

The coalition partners also agreed people from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia will not have an automatic right to asylum, following these countries being deemed safe.

The chancellor has not set a limit for the amount of refugees Germany can expect to take in this year.

Other rules in line with tightening include the change to deporting foreign criminals.

On Wednesday, the cabinet approved measures which make deporting foreign criminals easier, in response to the events on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, which were mainly blamed on foreigners in the country. 

This was the first poll to be conducted asking Germans on whether or not Ms Merkel should resign from her role. 

Ms Merkel also faced criticism from other countries in the European Union for her stance on migration, including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.