October 24, 2016

Angela Merkel’s party suffers state poll blow

Regional elections in the Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state resulted in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) losing for the first time to the rightwing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Despite losing five percentage points, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Sunday garnered the most votes in the state, with 30.6 per cent of the vote, according to provisional results.

The AfD, in its first foray into the regional elections in this state, clinched second position with 20.8 per cent, as voters approved their nationalist discourse and xenophobic policies, showing that many dislike Merkel’s decision to welcome more than 1 million refugees into the country, EFE news reported.

With Merkel at the G20 summit in China, the CDU’s general secretary, Peter Tauber, appeared before the media to recognise the “bitter” results and to defend the refugee policy of the federal government.

“Time to regain the lost confidence will be needed,” admitted Tauber, who warned that the AfD is a challenge to “all democratic parties” in the country and accused the populists of playing with “fears” and concerns of the Germans.

In spite of the setback, the Social Democrats, led by Erwin Sellering in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, were relieved with the results which will allow a reissuing of its coalition with the Christian Democrats in this state.

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