Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Merkel’s party suffers losses in two German regional polls



Merkel’s party suffers losses in two German regional polls

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin on March 10. POOL/AFP

Merkel’s party suffers losses in two German regional polls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party suffered heavy losses in two key regional elections on Sunday, early estimates showed, as voters vented anger over pandemic setbacks and a face-mask procurement scandal.

The votes in the southwestern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate were being closely watched as a barometer of the national mood ahead of a general election on September 26 – when Merkel’s successor will be chosen.

In wealthy Baden-Wuerttemberg, Merkel’s centre-right CDU was set for its worst-ever result at 23 per cent, according to exit polls by public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.

As in the 2016 vote, the Green party took first place again, garnering more than 31 per cent.

Baden-Wuerttemberg is Germany’s only state run by a Green premier, Winfried Kretschmann, who has been in office since 2011.

He could now choose to maintain his current coalition government with the CDU, or build a new one with the centre-left SPD and the pro-business FDP, which each took around 10 per cent of votes.

In neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate, the CDU placed second with 25-26 per cent of votes, down from almost 32 per cent in the previous regional election.

The centre-left SPD shed some support but held onto first place, at 33-34 per cent, according to the estimates.

The result paves the way for popular SPD state premier Malu Dreyer to continue governing with the pro-business FDP and the Greens, who more than doubled their score.

Because of the pandemic, a higher than usual number of votes were cast by mail, and observers cautioned that the final results could still change as ballots continued to be counted.

If confirmed, the results mark a worrying start for the CDU/CSU to what has been dubbed Germany’s “super election year”.

Merkel’s federal government, which includes the SPD as junior partner, initially won praise at home and abroad for suppressing the first coronavirus wave last spring.

But it has increasingly come under fire over Germany’s sluggish vaccination campaign, a delayed start to free rapid testing, and a resurgence in cases despite months of shutdown.

The CDU and its Bavarian CSU sister party have also been roiled by damaging claims about members of Parliament apparently benefitting financially from face mask deals early on in the pandemic, forcing three lawmakers to step down in recent days.

The mask scandal “weighed heavily on the election fight”, said CDU secretary-general Paul Ziemiak.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be