Huge Blow for Merkel

Huge Blow for MerkelHuge Blow for Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was facing fresh pressure on Monday over her liberal refugee policy after a drubbing in regional elections described as a “debacle”.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union was at the receiving end of voter anger, suffering defeats in two out of three states in Sunday’s elections, including in its traditional stronghold Baden-Wuerttemberg, World Bulletin reported.

The stinging result for the conservative CDU was accompanied by a surge in backing for the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany, which had sparked outrage by suggesting police may have to shoot at migrants to stop them entering the country.

The elections were the biggest since Germany registered a record influx of refugees that reached 1.1 million in 2015 and largely regarded as a referendum on Merkel’s decision to open the doors to people fleeing war.

While they have no direct impact on her chancellorship, the regional polls in the southwestern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate as well as Saxony-Anhalt in the east served as a key test ahead of general elections in 2017.

The mass-circulation Bild newspaper described it as a “day of horror” for Merkel.

Merkel, who is expected to give her first reaction to the polls shortly after midday, has so far resolutely refused to impose a cap on refugee arrivals, insisting instead on common European action that includes distributing asylum seekers among the EU’s 28 member states.