Published: Tue, October 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

SPD wins state poll, setback for Merkel

SPD wins state poll, setback for Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) secured 34 per cent of the vote.

The Greens won around 8.9 percent of the votes, ahead of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) at 7.4 percent, and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) at 6.2 percent.

The north German state of Lower Saxony holds an election on Sunday that looks likely to hand the Social Democrats (SPD) a narrow victory, and deprive Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives of a boost in looming national coalition talks.

The AfD scored 5.5. per cent in the regional elections meaning the party has made gains in 14 of Germany's 16 states.

The Social Democrats party (SPD), led by Martin Schulz, won 37.3 per cent of the votes in Lower Saxony in Germany, which is one of the most densely populated states in the country. Analysts attributed the result - one of the worst for the party in Lower Saxony for decades - to its top candidate's low profile and conservative voters' weariness of Merkel.

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For the last four years, Lower Saxony, one of Germany's largest and most populous states and home to Volkswagen, has been governed by the SPD in a coalition with the Greens. The AfD scored almost 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third-largest party in the Bundestag.

The result of the September 24 federal parliament made the alliance become the only possibility after the SPD announced that it would not form a new coalition with the Union again and all five parties ruled out possibility of cooperating with the AfD.

The latest lose in Lower Saxony may further weaken Merkel's power and complicate her efforts for government coalition talks that are already facing an array of differences between three parties.

After the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) took nearly a million voters from the conservative bloc in September's national election, the sister conservative parties put a long-running internal dispute to bed by agreeing to limit numbers of migrants coming to Germany.

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