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German government approval rating at record high: poll

German Chancellor Angela Merkel smiles during a press conference in Berlin, July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans’ satisfaction with their government has reached an all-time high, a survey has found, with 59 percent declaring themselves happy with Angela Merkel’s right-left coalition, and 74 percent saying they specifically approved of the chancellor.

According to a Deutschlandtrend poll of 1,003 people for broadcaster ARD, approval ratings for the coalition government, in power since December 2013, rose by 7 percentage points from June to reach the highest level since records began in 1997.

Merkel’s approval rating increased by 3 percentage points, her highest rating in almost seven years.

Key ministers such as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also won high satisfaction ratings, at 74 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Germany enjoyed its strongest economic growth in three years in the first quarter of 2014, and Merkel’s third coalition government has introduced a minimum wage and a lower retirement age for some workers.

The chancellor also remains popular for what is seen to be her prudent stewardship through the euro zone crisis.

Another poll by Deutschlandtrend showed 70 percent of Germans approved of stricter economic sanctions imposed by Germany and the European Union on Russia following the downing of Malaysia Airline flight MH17 over Ukraine in July.

(The story corrects approval figure in first paragraph to 59 percent, increments in second paragraph to percentage points.)

Reporting by Bethan John; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Sonya Hepinstall