Germany: Angela Merkel’s party loses poll to anti-migration and anti-Islam parties
Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party has been beaten into third place by an anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party in elections in a north-eastern German state, TV exit polls suggest.
The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party took 21.4% of the vote behind the centre-left SPD’s 30.2%.
The German chancellor’s CDU was supported by only 19.8% of those who voted, according to the exit polls.
The vote was seen as a key test before German parliamentary elections in 2017.
Before the vote in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, all of Germany’s other parties ruled out forming a governing coalition with the AfD.
However, the party’s strong showing could weaken Mrs Merkel ahead of the national elections next year.
Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, in the former East Germany, is where the chancellor’s own constituency is located.
Under her leadership, Germany has been taking in large numbers of refugees and migrants – 1.1 million last year – and anti-immigrant feeling has increased.
The AfD, initially an anti-euro party, has enjoyed a rapid rise as the party of choice for voters dismayed by Mrs Merkel’s policy.
But its political power is limited and critics accuse it of engaging in xenophobic scaremongering.
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