Merkel's coalition loses on her home turf
Berlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's
conservative-liberal coalition has suffered a debacle in her
home state of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania in an election
which was widely seen as a popularity test.
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lost 5.5 per
cent of the votes and polled 23.3 per cent, its worst defeat
in the former East German state since the reunification 20
years ago, while her coalition partner Free Democratic Party
(FDP) was forced to leave the state Parliament in Schwerin for
failing to poll the minimum five per cent votes needed to
remain in the House.
The FDP received only 2.8 per cent votes, one of the
worst results for the party in a state election.
The election in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania on the
Baltic Sea coast was widely seen as a test of popularity of
Chancellor Merkel's coalition government as it approached the
half-way mark of its four-year term next month.
Even though the election results have no direct impact on
her government, they are bound to increase the tension within
the coalition, which is already divided over a planned
expansion of the euro zone's bailout fund, tax reduction and
other policy issues.
Yesterday's election setback for Merkel's coalition comes
at a time when Germany’s European partners are looking for a
strong leadership from Berlin to deal with the euro zone debt
crisis, which is threatening to spread to larger economies
such as Italy and Spain.
"We are deeply disappointed by such a heavy loss for the
CDU," parliamentary manager of the party Peter Altmaier said
"However, the results are a clear vote for a continuation
of the present grand coalition," he said, participating in a
The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is in the
opposition in Berlin, emerged as the main winner of the
election by consolidating its position as the largest
political force in the state with a share of 36.5 per cent
votes, 6.3 per cent votes more than in the last election in
2006, according to provisional results.