Merkel suffers 'nightmare' defeat in bellwether state
Defeat of Chancellor’s CDU in Lower Saxony boost rivals’ hopes of general election victory
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats were licking their wounds today after suffering a narrow defeat at the polls in Germany’s second most populous state – a ballot viewed as a bellwether for the country’s general election this autumn.
Ms Merkel’s conservatives and their liberal Free Democrat coalition partners were ousted in Lower Saxony by an alliance of Social Democrats and Greens. They secured a one-seat majority in a cliffhanger election whose outcome became clear just before midnight on Sunday.
Looking distraught and tired, Ms Merkel told a press conference in Berlin yesterday that the result had “saddened” her party. Conceding that she had been clearly defeated, Ms Merkel added: “It is nevertheless difficult to accept such an outcome.”
Her conservatives had been confident of victory in Lower Saxony, where they had shared power with the Free Democrats since 2009. The alliance, which mirrored the coalition in Berlin, was led by the state’s Christian Democrat Prime Minister David McAllister, who has been tipped as a possible successor to Ms Merkel.
Commentators described the result as a “nightmare” for Ms Merkel as it came right at the beginning of a general election year. It was the third state election defeat in a row for the Christian Democrats in the space of two years. It came despite Ms Merkel’s record personal popularity. Polls show that 59 per cent of Germans think she is doing a good job.
“The outcome shows that nothing is certain. It means that the general election is likely to be a hard-fought battle for all parties,” an online editorial in Der Spiegel magazine said.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire