Politics

‘I did well!’ Angela Merkel swarmed by birds on final outing in her constituency

Angela Merkel heckled during speech in German Bundestag

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After taking a walk through town with Christian Democratic Union (CDU) candidate Georg Günther, who is running to replace her in the seat as she retires from politics, the German leader visited a bird park in the town of Marlow. According to the Münchner Merkur newspaper, employees at the park gave her a paper cup with bird mix, which attracted a swarm of Lori parrots.

Before long, the Chancellor of 16 years was swarmed by birds – including one which landed on her head.

The paper said the Chancellor did not want an eagle owl perched on her as well, which she left to Mr Günther.

“No, no. I did well with the parakeets,” Ms Merkel was reported saying at the offer.

It is not the first time Ms Merkel has been prone to an awkward or humorous moment.

The outgoing German Chancellor was once confused by an old French lady for being Emmanuel Macron’s wife while standing next to the French President.

She had to explain that she was, in fact, the German Chancellor.

Once, while singing a Christmas Carol with schoolchildren, Ms Merkel was filmed forgetting the words and mumbling along instead.

And in 2017, she led a crowd in practising CPR as loudspeakers blared the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive”.

As the European nation heads to the polls on September 26, Ms Merkel has made last-minute interventions to bolster support for the CDU’s candidate to replace her as Chancellor, Armin Lachet, who has had a series of missteps on the campaign trail.

According to the latest YouGov poll, the CDU are expected to take 21 percent of the vote, below the centre-left Social Democratic Party on 25 percent, which is headed by Olaf Scholz.

Mr Lachet, who is currently Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, was accused of poor management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

And in July Mr Laschet was filmed laughing as the president of Germany made a speech in a town which had been largely destroyed by catastrophic flooding.

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Following the blunder, his approval rating dropped to 13 percent.

He only narrowly secured the nomination to be the CDU candidate for chancellor over Bavarian rival Markus Söder.

Ms Merkel, who has remained popular with the German public during her 16-year leadership, was forced to join the election campaign after vowing to stay out of the latest election.

In a speech to the Bundestag earlier this month, Ms Merkel attacked the SDP, suggesting that they would let the far-left into government.

“Germany faces a choice of direction,” she said.

Either a government “which accepts the support of the left-wing party, or at least doesn’t exclude it”, or a conservative-led government with Mr Laschet as leader.

“That is exactly what Germany needs,” she added.

As well as a surge in popularity for Mr Scholz, Ms Merkel’s long stretch in power – second only to previous CDU leader Helmut Kohl – casts a long shadow on her potential successor.

As well as being voted the world’s most powerful woman thirteen times in the last 14 years, she is seen as one of the key figures in the European Union.

Dubbed the “Iron Chancellor” and “Mutti”, she has kept the CDU as the largest party in the Bundestag through four successive federal elections, despite an eight percent drop in 2017.

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