Merkel’s Conservatives Win Again in Regional Election

Merkel’s Conservatives Win Again in Regional ElectionMerkel’s Conservatives Win Again in Regional Election

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives scored another victory in a regional election, giving the party a boost ahead of the national vote this fall.

On Sunday, Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) won 33% of the votes in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s northernmost state, almost 7% points ahead of their main rival, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) at 26.2%, according to exit polls by Infratest Dimap, released by public broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening after ballots closed, Politico reported.

The result of the vote — the second of three regional elections this year — could allow the conservatives to push out incumbent SPD state premier Torsten Albig, who has governed since 2012. The Greens won around 13.3% of the votes, according to the exit poll, ahead of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) at 11.5%, far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) at 5.6% and the ethnic Danish minority party Südschleswigsche Wahlerverband (SSW,) which only exists in Schleswig-Holstein, at 3.5%.

During the last election five years ago, Merkel’s CDU got marginally more votes than SPD (30.8% versus 30.4%) but ended up being pushed into the opposition by the Social Democrats, who formed a coalition with the Greens and the SSW. This time, however, such a coalition won’t be able to secure enough seats to reach the majority necessary to govern.

Depending on the final results, majorities could possibly be formed by the CDU either going into a so-called Jamaica coalition with both the Greens and the FDP; by a grand coalition of the CDU with the SPD as junior partner, or even by the SPD — despite its defeat — partnering up with the Greens and the FDP in a so-called “traffic light coalition.”

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