Merkel’s Party Bags Key Election Victory

Merkel’s Party Bags Key Election VictoryMerkel’s Party Bags Key Election Victory

German Chancellor Angela Merkel dealt a devastating blow to her main rival on Sunday, four months before national elections, when early results showed her party securing a strong win in a regional vote in Germany’s biggest state.

Her Christian Democratic Union clinched 34.3% of the vote in North Rhine-Westphalia, first results showed, snatching control of the sprawling industrial region that has been a Social Democratic Party (SPD) stronghold for decades, the German news website reported.

SPD only managed to garner 30.6%, its worst score in history in the state and sharply down from its 2012 showing of 39.1%, in a serious hit to confidence ahead of general elections in September.

SPD leader Martin Schulz admitted that the loss in his home state marked a “difficult day for the SPD” and for him personally, but urged supporters to battle on.

“We received a body blow, but we are still striving in the ring ... now we’re going into the next round, the deciding round. At the end, when we look to the judge, it’s going to be the voters who raise the winner’s arms,” he said.

The former European Parliament president turned to France for courage.

“My friend Emmanuel Macron was at the bottom five months ago, and now, he is president,” said Schulz of the new French leader who took office on Sunday.

But Germany’s best-selling daily Bild noted that “with the clear state election failures, it would be very difficult for SPD to win the general elections in September.”

Likewise, Spiegel Online said: “Martin Schulz now needs a miracle.”

Caption: Angela Merkel


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