Over the weekend: German election results putting pressure on Merkel

29 October, 2018, 14:12 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces another major blow as Germans go to the polls in Hesse

As polls stand, the two parties would each book an even worse result than the all-time low scores they saw in last year's federal parliament vote. The result, coupled with a similarly impressive second-place finish in Bavaria, proved that there's new vitality on the left of German politics.

His CDU colleague Christian von Steffen was more blunt: 'We need a meaningful programme with a clear path and new faces'. Mass-circulation daily Bild reported, citing sources in the CDU leadership, that Merkel said she wouldn't run again for the party leadership.

Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, stepped down as leader of his party in February 2004 but remained chancellor until November of the following year.

The clear victor of Sunday's state polls is the Green Party, in another repeat of the recent Bavarian election.

SPD leader Andrea Nahles said she would use a roadmap with which to measure the progress of the ruling coalition, which has been plagued by infighting, at a mid-term review next year.

Projections for ARD and ZDF public television, based on exit polls and partial counting, gave the CDU 27-28 per cent support and the centre-left Social Democrats almost 20 per cent. That would be the worst result in the region for the Social Democrats since World War II.

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Meanwhile the far-right AfD party has entered the state assembly for the first time, the polls say, winning 12% of the vote. "The state of the government is unacceptable". A three-way coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats was already on the cards before bedtime Sunday night. It was the first coalition between the CDU and the traditionally left-leaning Greens to last a full parliamentary term, and an unexpectedly harmonious alliance.

And Mr. Bouffier, noting that his party fared better in the Hesse vote than it now does in polls nationally, seems keen to stay in power. In projections throughout the evening, the outgoing CDU-Green coalition was forecast to win 61 seats out of 121, securing a razor-thin majority.

The election campaign in prosperous Hesse, which includes Germany's financial centre of Frankfurt, has been largely overshadowed by the woes of a federal coalition in office only since March.

That has given extra significance to the election in Hessen, which is home to 6.2 million of Germany's 82 million people.

The ARD exit poll showed only 13 percent of CDU voters believed Merkel had helped the party in Hesse, down from 70 percent at the last state election, reflecting voter anger at her decision in 2015 to welcome nearly one million, mainly Muslim asylum seekers. It has failed to convince voters that it's achieving much on other matters. The two men are deputy national leaders of their parties.

The CDU hosts its annual conference in December, and Merkel, who has governed Germany for the past 13 years, will be seeking re-election as party chairwoman.

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