In the wake of the ongoing refugee crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popular support has shrunk to its lowest point since August 2011, according to a new poll by public broadcaster ARD. The survey found that she has the support of just 46 percent of Germans, down from 75 percent in April 2015 — before the refugee crisis came into full force. Moreover, 81 percent of those surveyed do not believe the German government is handling the refugee crisis well, and support for Merkel’s conservative coalition is dropping, while the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AFD) reached its highest-ever polling numbers at 12 percent. The leader of this party, Frauke Petry, came under fire this past weekend for suggesting in an interview that German police should be allowed to shoot at refugees trying to come into the country illegally. Merkel has faced increased public pressure over her open-door policy for refugees, particularly after the NYE sexual assaults in Cologne, with Germany welcoming more than 1.1 million people in 2015. Last week, the German government sought to tighten asylum rules by backing a plan to declare Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia “safe countries”, which means citizens of these countries would have no chance of being granted asylum in Germany.
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