German govt parties lose ground in state vote

01 November, 2018, 14:26 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Green politicians Tarek Al-Wazir Priska Hinz and Annalena Baerbock at an election rally in Frankfurt last week. The party is enjoying a surge in popularity in Germany

The other big victor was the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered the Hesse regional assembly for the first time with 12.8 percent of the vote, the ZDF projection showed.

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.

Speculation has been widespread before the vote that a disastrous result for either or both parties could further destabilize the national government, prompting calls for the Social Democrats to walk out and possibly endangering Merkel's own position.

"We could then gauge the implementation of this roadmap at the agreed mid-term review, when we would be able to clearly see if this government is the right place for us", Nahles told reporters.

In one of her most debated moves, Merkel allowed large numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers into Germany in 2015, many of them fleeing the fighting in Syria, before gradually pivoting to a more restrictive approach.

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The CDU has governed Hesse for almost 20 years, and the party campaigned on an enviable record in the state of ultralow unemployment, high wages and minimal crime.

Merkel also reportedly said that she won't seek re-election to parliament after its current term ends, indicating that this will be her final term as chancellor - something that had been widely assumed but that Merkel has not until now confirmed.

There were big gains for the Greens, who took 19.8 per cent of the vote, compared with 11.1 per cent five years ago. The CDU won a third of the vote in last September's German election - an historically poor performance for the party that has dominated the country's post-war politics.

Voters have appeared generally satisfied with Bouffier's outgoing state government. But current polls show the CDU not even winning a quarter of the national vote.

The result left Bouffier's outgoing CDU-Green coalition with a one-seat parliamentary majority. "Her federal coalition partner, the Social Democrats, also fared poorly".

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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.

TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Merkel made this known while addressing a press conference at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on Monday. Many are dismayed by what has happened since.

Karl-Rudolf Korte, a political science professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen, predicted on ZDF television that its leaders "will do everything to save the "grand coalition" for the next three years". Although the party has remained relatively united behind its leader in public, discontent has been building as the CDU's fortunes have sunk.

For her part, Merkel said she sees "many more opportunities than risks for our country, the German government and also my party" in setting a transition of power in motion.

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