The majority of Germans are opposed to the extradition of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, according to a survey in conservative newspaper Welt carried out by Institut Civey. The survey asked: “Should the former Catalan regional president Puigdemont be extradited to Spain?". The majority is slim: 51% say no to extradition; 35% say yes and 14% don't know. There is a majority opposed to extradition in all political groups except for voters of Angela Merkel's Christian democratic coalition, the CDU/CSU.
Looked at another way, if the Puigdemont case had any weight in a hypothetical German election campaign, the most popular option for the parties would be to reject the extradition request. It can also be observed from the survey that the Puigdemont affair has clearly become a matter of German public interest and most citizens have formed an opinion on the issue.
Among the voters for parties that have been part of different German governments, the differences are narrower. 49% of Green Party voters oppose extradition, with 34% in favour; supporters of the social democratic SPD oppose extradition by 46% to 41%; the liberals of the FDP say no by 44%, ahead of 40% for yes. Only among CDU/CSU voters, is Puigdemont's extradition favoured, by 51%, with 33% against.
At the extremes of the spectrum, the opposition to handing over Puigdemont to Spain is clear: post-communist leftist party Die Linke registers 71% for no, while 66% of voters for the Euro-phobic and xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) say no to handing over the Catalan leader to the Spanish authorities.
Germans from the western part of the country reject extradition by 49% to 36%, a figure that climbs to 59% among Germans from the ex-communist East (29% in favour of extradition). The reason for the difference, according to Welt, is that both AfD and Die Linke have more supporters in the old communist RDA. It is worth mentioning that chancellor Merkel is also from the East.
By sex, the rejection of extradition is higher among women than men. 56% of women oppose delivering Puigdemont to Spain (29% are in favour). Among men, 47% oppose the move (40% are in favour).
5,057 persons responded to the survey between 26th and 28th March. The statistical error of the results is 2.5%.
The Europeran arrest warrant issued by Spain is now in the hands of the public prosecution service of Schleswig-Holstein, the German federal state where Puigdemont was stopped last Monday. The prosecutors have to decide whether they will ask the High Court of Schleswig-Holstein to execute the extradition. The lawyers in Germany for the exiled president Puigdemont have asked the German federal government not to hand over their client to Spain in a declaration in writing released this Thursday.
Illustration from a cartoon by Pepschl in the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung