The document put forward by Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU party on Monday outlines a series of generous family-friendly policies for Germans, described by some as a lurch to the left to attract as many voters as possible.
It includes measures which are in sharp contrast to the fiscal reforms Merkel has insisted other euro zone countries undertake. Among them are a rise in child benefits, provisions for flexible working hours, plans for more affordable housing, rent control as well as fresh spending on infrastructure and pensions. German newspaper Handelsblatt said the measures would cost as much as 28.5 billion euros.
“The CDU/CSU is by far and away in the lead and when you’re in the lead you can act like a sailor who’s winning the race. You just look at the boat behind you; when they go right you go right, when they go left, you go left. You’ll stay ahead of them,” Irwin Collier, professor of economics at the Freie Universitaet Berlin told CNBC.
The latest opinion polls show that Merkel’s CDU/CSU would get 40 percent of the vote while the Free Democrats – the party’s preferred coalition partners – would get 6 percent. If Germans were to elect their Chancellor directly, Merkel would win 58 percent of the vote, leaving her main contender, the social democrat candidate Peer Steinbrueck far behind with only 15 percent. Support for Steinbrueck’s SPD party stood at 22 percent while the Greens had 18 percent of the vote.