Merkel’s Party Falls Behind Right-Wing AfD in State Election

Berlin, – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has lost its position as second-strongest party in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), according to official preliminary results.

The AfD won 20.8%, meaning it will enter the north-eastern state’s parliament for the first time. It already has deputies in eight other state legislatures and is likely to enter the national parliament after next year’s general election, the German news agency (dpa) reported.

The CDU came in with 19% of the vote in the north-eastern state’s election, which was widely understood as a fresh test of Merkel’s controversial policies during the refugee crisis.

The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which currently heads a grand coalition with the CDU as its junior partner, remained the strongest party at 30.6%.

Voter turnout was 61.6%, an increase of more than 10 percentage points over 2011.

The result means that, despite losses for both governing parties, the SPD and the CDU will be able to form a coalition for another five-year term. However, Social Democrat premier Erwin Sellering did not confirm Sunday whether he would seek another coalition with CDU.

Source: Qatar News Agency