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Almost half of Germans do not know top national candidates for EU parliament

Just three weeks before the European Parliament elections, almost half of Germans do not really know who the candidates are, a recent poll has shown.

Citizens of one of Europe’s powerhouses – Germany – have seemingly not been following the news about the forthcoming EU elections particularly closely as more than 40 percent of them apparently have no idea who the top candidates fielded by major national parties are, a survey published last week reveals.

Some 45 percent of respondents said they did not know any of the nine leading candidates representing six German parliamentary parties, a YouGov poll commissioned by the German dpa news agency shows.

One of the two top candidates fielded by the Social Democrats, Katarina Barley, who also serves as Germany’s Justice Minister, turns out to be the best-known politician on the list as almost 40 percent of respondents were able to pick her out of a lineup.

Apart from being a member of the German government, Barley apparently also gained some extra recognition by making media appearances, occasionally with some unintended consequences. Her latest appearance on RT in particular sparked a media backlash in Germany. The outrage was not due to what she said but by the mere fact that she gave an interview to RT Deutsch. However, it seems that there is no such thing as bad publicity, in this case at least.

Also on rt.com Pro-EU stance doesn’t count: German minister ripped apart by media for RT interview

Barley is closely followed by Joerg Meuthen, a co-chair of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), who turned out to be known by 35 percent of respondents. However, only one in four people said they knew Manfred Weber, a candidate that tops the joint voting list of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian allies.

The same goes for the leading candidate of the Free Democrats, Nicola Beer, who is known to 26 percent of people. Such a result might be particularly disappointing for Weber, who is the only one among the top German candidates who is standing to fight for the post of European Commission president following the May elections.

All other top candidates are trailing far behind as they are only known to between four and 15 percent of Germans. “They are not really in the spotlight,” one man told RT in Berlin. “For the most part, these are candidates that no one has ever heard of.”

When it comes to the date of the vote scheduled to take place between May 23 and 26, the Germans don’t seem to be particularly well informed either. A mere 37 percent of the German citizens were able to name the date or at least the month when the vote was expected to be held, according to the Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament itself.

On average, the percentage of Europeans knowing when they are supposed to turn up for the vote, at least approximately, stood at 38 percent, the poll conducted in February and March showed. Almost a quarter of respondents said it would be held at some time “this year” while another 27 percent admitted they simply do not know when the vote will take place.

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