Merkel suf­fers drub­bing in Ber­lin vote

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BER­LIN: Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives suf­fered their sec­ond elec­toral blow in two weeks yes­ter­day, with sup­port for her Chris­tian Democrats (CDU) plung­ing to a post-re­uni­fi­ca­tion low in a Ber­lin state vote due to un­ease with her mi­grant pol­icy.

The anti-im­mi­grant Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) polled 11.5%, gain­ing from a pop­u­lar back­lash over Merkel’s de­ci­sion a year ago to keep bor­ders open for refugees, an exit poll by pub­lic broad­caster ARD showed.

The re­sult means the AfD will en­ter a 10th state assem­bly, out of 16 in to­tal.

Merkel’s CDU polled 18%, down from 23.3% at the last elec­tion in 2011, with the cen­tre-left So­cial Democrats (SPD) re­main­ing the largest party, with 23%.

The SPD may now ditch the CDU from their coali­tion in the Ger­man cap­i­tal.

The blow to the CDU came two weeks af­ter they suf­fered heavy losses in the eastern state of Meck­len­burg-Vor­pom­mern.

The set­backs have raised ques­tions about whether Merkel will stand for a fourth term next year, but her party has few good al­ter­na­tives so she still looks like the most likely can­di­date.

Merkel – who was booed with “get lost” cries by right-wing ac­tivists at a cam­paign event with her party’s can­di­date Frank Henkel last week – had con­ceded that it was hard to reach the “protest vot­ers” who had turned their backs on main­stream par­ties.

“And still we have to try, again and again, be­cause I think we must not give up on peo­ple who are cast­ing protest votes,” she had said on RBB Ber­lin pub­lic ra­dio.

On Satur­day, in an­other ac­knowl­edge­ment of the neg­a­tive re­ac­tion to her mi­grant pol­icy, she said she wanted to drop her “we can do it” ral­ly­ing cry, much used last year to il­lus­trate her wel­com­ing stance on mi­grants. – Agen­cies

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