Merkel's approval rating up after EU-Turkey pact to stem migration

A fresh boost to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's approval rating is partly attributable to her successful push for an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to stem the refugee crisis, according to polling firm Forsa.

The poll, conducted on behalf of RTL and Stern magazine, showed support for the chancellor rising to 52 per cent - its highest level since August, when it emerged that Germany was suspending EU migration rules in order to welcome more Syrian refugees.

Merkel, whose approval rating reached unprecented highs during the initial part of her decade in office, has recently come under fire for resisting unilateral measures to control migration.

But Merkel's successful push for a pact with Ankara that foresees thousands of Syrian refugees being returned to Turkey seems to have assuaged voters, Forsa said.

Sigmar Gabriel - the head of her Social Democrat coalition partners who could lead the party's challenge to Merkel at next year's general elections - received only 13-per-cent support in the Forsa poll.

Merkel's open-door migration policies have been blamed for electoral losses for her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and for the rise of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD).

But Wednesday's Forsa poll showed her conservative political bloc climbing to 36-per-cent support, and the AfD falling from 13 to 10 per cent.

"The attacks in Brussels have raised the terrorist threat, so citizens are turning back to the established parties - the same happened in the wake of the Paris attacks," Manfred Guellner, head of Forsa, told Stern magazine.

Last update: Wed, 30/03/2016 - 11:06

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