BERLIN, Germany -- Chancellor's Angela Merkel's main competitor, Social Democrat Peer Steinbrueck, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he's not going to turn into a "cuddly Peer," a play on his first name, in order to appeal to women voters -- many of whom are less than enthused about his candidacy, reported Reuters.
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"It may well be the case that I come across as too cerebral and not emotional enough for women between the age of 18 to their early 40s," Steinbrueck admitted to Bild. But basically, too bad -- he's not going to change his approach because it "wouldn't seem genuine," Reuters quoted him as saying.
Commentators are saying Steinbrueck's cut-to-the-chase style is not playing well with female voters. Reuters pointed out that he may have "compounded his problems by failing to pick any women for team of four top advisers."
Steinbrueck, a former finance minister, is challenging Merkel in the country's upcoming September federal elections.
"People see things are getting out of balance in this country," Steinbrueck told Bild when asked why Germany needs a change in leadership, according to Reuters. "They want more 'we' and less 'me.' They want more social cohesion, they want more cooperation."
At the moment, Steinbrueck's Social Democrat party (SPD) is polling a solid 10 points behind the Chancellor's Christian Democrats, but he told Bild the party is weighing a coalition with the Greens.
Even if they combined forces, though, Reuters cited a survey published in Bild today indicating little chance they would score a majority over Merkel's two-party ruling coalition.