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Merkel humiliated in state elections

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to restore confidence in the government today after crashing to a humiliating defeat in the Bavarian state elections.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) — sister party to Ms Merkel’s Christian Democrats — polled 37 per cent, its worst vote for more than six decades as it lost its majority in Germany’s southern state in a major defeat for the governing parties.

Her coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), lost its position as the state’s second-largest party as its vote halved to just 9.7 per cent, finishing fifth. 

While the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) made gains winning 10.2 per cent of the vote, it was the pro-immigration Green Party that performed better with its vote almost doubling to 17.4 per cent.

The result is a bitter blow for the CDU-SPD coalition government, particularly for Ms Merkel who many see as out of touch with ordinary Germans.

Bavarian CSU leader Markus Soder conceded it was a “difficult day” for the party, however he sought to shift blame for the poor performance on to Ms Merkel’s immigration policy.

Led by the controversial Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian party introduced a law requiring classrooms and public buildings to hang the crucifix and ban the full-face Islamic veils.

But polls leading up to Sunday’s vote showed Bavarians rejected the right-wing measures introduced by the CSU with some suggesting they were merely repeating the arguments of AfD.

Co-leader of the Greens Annalena Baerbock said: “Today Bavaria voted to uphold human rights and humanity.”

Ms Merkel promised to restore confidence in government ahead of state elections in Hesse at the end of the month.

“My lesson from yesterday is that I, as chancellor of this ‘grand coalition,’ must do more to ensure that this confidence is there and that the results of our work are visible. And I will do that emphatically.”

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