Merkel pledges to win back voters' trust

With Germany's general election in less than three weeks, the conservative leader was greeted by thousands of Christian Democrat (CDU) party delegates and ordinary Germans waving "Angie" placards as she addressed the crowd at Westfalen Hall indoor sports stadium in Dortmund. In a speech which amounted to a scathing attack on Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his failure to combat unemployment, Mrs Merkel, 50, said: "There are now five million people without a job in this country. Germany needs a government that says what it is going to do before an election, a government that keeps its promises and wins back voters' destroyed trust."

Thousands of Merkel supporters, dressed in the Christian Democrats' new election colour - orange - rose to their feet to give her a series of standing ovations.

Overshadowed by a huge party slogan that read "Decision for Germany", Mrs Merkel was sitting beside Helmut Kohl, the country's former conservative "Unification Chancellor", and despite recent objections by the Rolling Stones, the party still blasted the crowd with ther group's 1973 hit "Angie".

Referring to the dismal economic record of Mr Schröder's government, Mrs Merkel pointed to the 40,000 companies which collapse in Germany each year and the 1,000 jobs lost each day: "I cannot accept that jobs are being created everywhere else in the world but not in Germany."

Mrs Merkel's speech was intended as the opening shot in the CDU's final push for victory in the country's general election on 18 September. But her weak television performances and lack of charisma appear to have persuaded her party to begin re-marketing her as a politician of trust who does not balk at unpopular measures.

Volker Kauder, the party's general secretary, described Mrs Merkel as a person who was a "compass" for all Germans after the disillusion they had experienced during Mr Schröder's tenure. "The people are yearning for someone they can trust."

The message was underlined by Mrs Merkel, who highlighted her party's commitment to raise value added tax by 2 per cent after taking office. She also confirmed that she had chosen Paul Kirchhof, a controversial Heidelberg economics professor, as a future economics minister in her cabinet. Professor Kirchhof has been criticised within the CDU for proposing a 25 per cent flat-rate income tax.

Mrs Merkel's push for victory came after opinion polls suggested at the weekend that her party had beaten back slight gains made by Mr Schröder's Social Democrats in recent weeks and was now firmly on course to win the election.

A survey for Germany's ZDF television channel predicted that the Christian Democrats would romp home with 43 per cent of the vote compared to a mere 30 per cent polled for the Chancellor's party.

In Germany's 2002 election, Mr Schröder snatched victory from the conservatives at the last minute by opposing the impending US invasion of Iraq and by visiting victims of the floods that had swept the eastern half of the country.

Hopes of a repeat performance appeared to have all but evaporated yesterday, despite the Chancellor's warnings about an possible US-inspired war against Iran, and his support for this summer's latest flood victims in southern Germany.

"The sort of catastrophe now needed to turn this election around could hardly be wished on any country," an SPD MP told Der Spiegel news magazine.

A poll showed that 39 per cent of Germans expected Mr Schröder to be re-elected, while 51 per cent thought he was merely campaigning to "assure himself a place in the history books".

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game