THE GUARDIAN – PHILIP OLTERMANN
Local media report ‘scary situations’ amid pre-election campaigning in areas where rightwing populists are gaining ground.
Angela Merkel has faced fierce protests on the campaign trail for next month’s federal elections in Germany, calling into question her strategy of actively targeting regions of the country where rightwing populists have been gathering support.
Germany’s first east German chancellor has been heckled and jeered, and her aides physically assaulted, while campaigning in the part of the country she grew up in.
Merkel is hoping to be re-elected for a fourth term on 24 September, and her centre-right Christian Democrats have a poll lead over Martin Schulz’s centre-left Social Democrats.
On Tuesday, she told a press conference she was targeting the heartlands of populist nationalists Alternative für Deutschland, saying she wanted to “make a stand against the yelling”.
More than one in three of Merkel’s campaign rallies are being held in the five states that used to make up the socialist German Democratic Republic, even though they are home to only about a fifth of the country’s population.