Berlin: An exit poll points to a victory for
Chancellor Angela Merkel`s party in a state election in
western Germany, and a disastrous performance for her partners
in the national government.
Merkel`s Christian Democrats were fighting to preserve
their 12-year hold on the governor`s office in Saarland today.
It`s the first of three state elections this year.
An ARD television exit poll showed Merkel`s party in the
lead -- more than four points ahead of Germany`s main
opposition Social Democrats.
It showed the pro-market Free Democrats -- Merkel`s
struggling partners in the national government -- slumping far
below the 5 percent support needed to win seats in the state
The exit poll shows the upstart Pirate Party entering its
second state parliament with 8 per cent support.