Kohl promises an election victory against the odds

THE GERMAN Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, yesterday insisted that he believes in victory for the Christian Democrats in elections in eight months' time, despite the party's poor performance in recent polls.

He told delegates to a Christian Democrat (CDU) party conference in Hamburg: 'We must fight, whether we have the wind behind us or - as at the moment - the wind against us.'

Delegates gave him a long, standing ovation after his 80-minute speech, in which he acknowledged that some people looked at him as if he were a 'strange bird' for talking about victory. But, he declared: 'We will win, if we do not go down on our knees before anybody.'

The party conference is intended to set the tone for a year in which there will be 19 elections, beginning with a regional election in three weeks' time and culminating with nationwide parliamentary elections in October.

Mr Kohl warned his internal party critics that they should voice their criticisms during the conference - 'And then that's it.' He argued: 'Anyone who seeks to raise his own profile at the expense of the whole, excludes himself from the community.' Mr Kohl, in power since 1982, has a formidable reputation for getting rid of those who seek to rebel against his authority.

Mr Kohl fiercely attacked the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), accusing them of lack of enthusiasm during German unity in 1990, and of 'betrayal' of Germany's future. He said that he was in favour of a 'fair campaign', but did not intend to 'turn the other cheek'. He claimed, too, that the SPD had wanted to 'kowtow' to the East German Communist Party leader, Erich Honecker. 'It is not a question of digging around in old files and certainly is not throwing mud, if I talk about what happened during those years,' he said.

In one respect at least, Mr Kohl appears to have gained the upper hand in the arguments within the party. After half-retreats in recent months, following attacks on closer European unity by the Bavarian Prime Minister, Edmund Stoiber, Mr Kohl fought successfully to keep the idea of the 'federal state' in the new party programme, which was approved by the party leadership at the weekend.

As regards the coming battle with the Social Democrats, Mr Kohl has every reason to be pessimistic. The latest polls confirm that Rudolf Scharping, the SPD leader, is much more popular: he has 35 per cent support, against 26 per cent for Mr Kohl. The outlook is also poor for the party battle. The SPD's support is 44 per cent, against 31 per cent for the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU.

But pollsters point out that Mr Kohl has, on previous occasions, gained victory from apparently unwinnable lows. The 'undecided' or 'non-voters' group continues to be larger than the declared support for either the Social Democrats or the Christian Democrats. In the words of Manfred Gullner, the director of the Forsa polling institute: 'The race is still open.'

News
people
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

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

Recruitment Genius: Visitor Centre - Attraction Manager

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: For the first time in its 1,000...

Recruitment Genius: Air Conditioning Service and / or Installation Engineers

£27400 - £33500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time air conditioning, ven...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of web an...

Recruitment Genius: Class 1 Driver

£12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader in the events...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?