Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was defeated in two regional elections on Sunday-an an important vote ahead of September’s Bundestag elections, which will be held without Merkel.
This is reported by Spiegel Online.
In southwestern Baden-Wurttemberg, the Greens won 32.6% of the vote, the CDU 24.1%, and the Social Democrats 11%.
In neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate, the Social Democrats took first place and will retain power with 35.7% of the vote, ahead of the CDU, which was leading in opinion polls by last month but had only 27.7% support in Sunday’s election.
The two-state vote was seen as the first major political test of the year, culminating in a general election in September.
The party’s general secretary, Paul Zemiak, acknowledged that the results on Sunday evening were disappointing. He also acknowledged that recent corruption scandals and concerns about the country’s government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic have hurt the CDU.
Sunday’s results were a blow to CDU party chief Armin Laschet, who became party leader two months ago and is seeking to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor.
Both election results open the way for regional coalitions between the Greens, the SPD, and the Liberal Free Democrats, and raise the possibility of a similar coalition forming after the September general election.
Polls show that the CDU’s national popularity has fallen from 40% in June last year, when Germany was praised for its response to the pandemic, to around 33% this month, the BBC reports.