* CDU and CSU at odds over migrants, but narrow differences
* Merkel seeking fourth term as chancellor in 2017
* Poll shows she is gaining popular support
BERLIN, Dec 8 The Bavarian party allied to
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU)
on Thursday welcomed the CDU's tougher stance on the integration
of migrants but urged it to go further to restrict arrivals and
The CDU and Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) together
form the conservative faction in the Bundestag lower house of
parliament, but the two parties are at odds over how to deal
with last year's record migrant influx to Germany of 890,000
Their rift persists as the CDU wants to improve relations
with the CSU ahead of a 2017 election and regain support lost to
the far-right, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD).
In a hardening of her stance on migrants' integration in
Germany, Merkel this week called for a ban on full-face Muslim
veils "wherever legally possible" and the CDU passed a
resolution on tackling forced marriage and honour killings, and
cracking down on dual citizenship.
"The overall development is good," CSU leader Horst Seehofer
told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
But Seehofer said differences remained and called for the
deportation of a "demonstrable number" of refugees. He also
reiterated his demand for a cap to be placed on the number of
migrants coming here. Merkel has rejected such a cap.
Since announcing last month that she will seek a fourth term
in office next year, Merkel, 62, has enjoyed a rise in support.
A Dec. 5-7 survey of 1,504 voters by pollster Infratest for
broadcaster ARD showed 59 percent welcomed her decision to run.
In a contest for chancellor against Sigmar Gabriel, leader
of the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel would win 57 percent
support to his 19 percent, the poll showed.
Support for Merkel would slip to 43 percent if she faced the
SPD's Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament
who is returning to German politics, rather than Gabriel.
The survey put support for Schulz at 36 percent in a dual
with Merkel. The chancellor needs to resolve her party's
differences with the CSU to run a united campaign.
CSU member Manfred Weber, who also heads the conservative
European People's Party (EVP) in the European Parliament, told
taz newspaper the CSU would not join a coalition with the CDU
after next year's election without a deal on a migrants cap.
But the CDU's firmer stance on migrants attracted criticism
from the opposition.
Sahra Wagenknecht, a prominent member of the far-left Linke
party, accused the CDU of simply adopting the policies of the
AfD: "Instead of finally getting on with actually dealing with
the causes of migration, they prefer to copy the AfD programme
when it comes to asylum issues," she told German news agency
(Reporting by Christian Goetz, Ralf Bode and Michelle Martin;
Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)