German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives suffer another electoral blow after Berlin elections in which voters reject her migrant policy and lend more support to an emergent far-right anti-immigration party. Ashraf Fahim reports.
Merkel gets drubbing in Berlin vote, far right gains ground
The results are in — and they don’t bode well for Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats.
The CDU suffered its second major defeat in two weeks, this time in local elections in Berlin.
Early results show voters, angry over Merkel’s open door policy for migrants, gave her party just 18 percent of the ballots.
One young CDU leader says these numbers are difficult to swallow.
(SOUNDBITE) (German) BERLIN STATE LEADER OF YOUNG UNION OF CDU, CHRISTOPH BRZEZINSKI, SAYING:
“This is a bitter result. 18 percent is not what we would have wished for after many weeks of campaigning.
Voters handed the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party, or AFD, nearly 13 percent of the vote.
That means newly-emergent and far-right AFD now has representatives in 10 out of Germany’s 16 regional state assemblies.
Their victorious candidates, like Georg Pazderski, are over the moon.
(SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD FRONT RUNNER FOR BERLIN, GEORG PAZDERSKI, SAYING:
“From zero to double-digit, that is unique for Berlin, it didn’t happen for 66 years here. The grand coalition has been voted out – not yet at the federal level, but that will happen next year.”
The center-left Social Democrats came out best with 23 percent of the vote.
The backlash against Merkel’s migrant policy raises questions about whether Europe’s most powerful leader will stand for a fourth term next year.
… AND raises the pressure on Merkel to change course on her open door refugee policy.