Merkel’s successor on brink in Germany as flood victims lash out at Chancellor hopeful

Germany: Protesters clash with police in Berlin

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The Chancellor of Germany will stand down from her position at the end of her fourth term in 2021. Armin Laschet, the leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister, visited flood victims in the Rhein-Sieg district. But the hopeful replacement of Ms Merkel had furious locals ask why the Government did not do more to help.

In a video showing Mr Laschet’s visit to Swisttal, in Rhein-Sieg, he and Mayor Petra Kalkbrenner were surrounded by around 100 people.

Swisttal, as well as much of North Rhine-Westphalia state, was hit by floods on July 15 at around 3am local time.

Paul Greve, a stay-at-home dad, told the duo: “Where were the warnings half a day before?”

“Have you ever had to rummage through mud for a week?” Where were the sirens?”

Another man shouted at the hopeful Chancellor he got his parents out of the house himself at 2am, “otherwise they would be dead now! There was nothing, no alarm!”

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One person shouted to Mr Laschet the flood response was “outrageous”, before adding: “Our administration is a huge failure!”

Mr Greve then added: “You will feel this during the elections.”

According to Bild, Mr Laschet said he is “not interested in the election”, and stressed he was there to “solve problems”.

In response, one person said: “There is no longer any problem to be solved. The water was already here!”

Another added: “So far I have not seen anyone from the state government helping me, no one from the administration… “

Speaking to NTV.de, Niklas Hart, a 20-year-old resident, said of Mr Laschet’s appearance: “He looks at the things.

“But he could also just sit in his office and order the containers. He doesn’t have to be here for that.

“He is just campaigning. Nothing worked during the floods.”

On the night of the floods Mr Hart had to swim to rescue his grandmother himself, according to the broadcaster.

It comes after Mr Laschet was caught on camera last month laughing while President Frank-Walter Steinmeier tried to console victims of the worst floods in living memory.

He quickly apologized, saying his laughter was “not appropriate,” but commentators said at the time: “This scene is repugnant, there’s no other way to put it.”

On August 1, a Bild poll showed only 13 percent of Germans say they would vote for Mr Laschet as Chancellor if they could choose directly.

The 2021 German federal election is expected to be held on September 26.

However, Mr Laschet’s CDU still lead in support, with POLITICO’s Poll of Polls placing the party at 28 percent.

Mr Laschet also recently apologised for committing plagiarism in a 2009 book.

He said: “There are obviously mistakes for which I bear responsibility … I would like to apologise.”

Additional reporting from Monika Pallenberg

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