Merkel partners in poll freefall

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German chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have climbed to their highest opinion rating in nearly seven years – but may not be able to continue their centre-right coalition with the slumping Free Democrats (FDP).

The Forsa poll published yesterday found Ms Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, rising three points to 41 per cent, the highest since March 2006. But the FDP fell one point to 4 per cent– below the 5 per cent threshold needed for seats in parliament, with the next election due in September.