Merkel government shaken by regional vote battering
FRANKURT – Agence France-Presse
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government on Oct. 28 suffered a beating in a second key regional election in as many weeks, multiplying questions over the future of the veteran leader’s fragile alliance.
Weakened by a strong backlash against immigration after allowing over a million people into Germany since 2015, Merkel’s fourth government has staggered from one crisis to the next since being formed earlier this year.
According to an exit poll by public broadcaster ARD in Hesse state, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) shed more than 11 points compared with 2013 for a 27.2-percent score, holding on to a much weakened first place.
Meanwhile junior federal coalition partners the Social Democrats (SPD) tumbled almost the same amount to 19.8 percent, essentially tied for second place with the ecologist Greens, who almost doubled their result to 19.6 percent.
Both the SPD and Merkel’s CSU sister party had also seen grave losses in Bavaria’s regional poll earlier this month.
“It’s very painful for the CDU that we’ve lost many votes,” party general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - widely seen as Merkel’s anointed successor - acknowledged at a Berlin press conference.
The result is another milestone in the long decline of the big-tent “people’s parties” CDU and SPD that have dominated German politics for decades.