• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Merkel loses power in state election

The Local · 6 May 2012, 19:40

Published: 06 May 2012 19:40 GMT+02:00

Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) scored 30.6 percent, according to ARD public television, with her junior partners at the national level, the Free Democrats (FDP), winning 8.3 percent - not enough to retain power in the northern state.

However, the opposition - combining the centre-left Social Democrats and ecologist Greens - also failed to gain sufficient support to form a government, with 29.9 percent and 13.6 percent respectively.

This left as a strong possibility a so-called "grand coalition" between the CDU and SPD, which many believe could be the final result of the national elections due in September or October 2013.

The big winners on the night were the Pirates, an upstart party that has shaken up the staid world of German politics with a campaign based on more transparency in the political process and internet freedom.

For the third consecutive regional election, they breached the five-percent mark needed to enter the state parliament, winning 8.2 percent of the vote.

But for the FDP, although they lost more than six percent compared to the last election in 2009, it was a better-than-expected result, given that they are polling nationally at around three percent.

Turnout was low, with around 60 percent of the 2.2 million registered voters casting their ballot, compared to more than two-thirds in 2009.

The socialist Left party failed to clear the five-percent hurdle, scoring around 2.4 percent. A party representing the state's small Danish minority also fell below the threshold, with 4.5 percent.

The parties will now engage in days of horse-trading before the final make-up of the state parliament is determined.

However, the election will have little impact on the make-up of the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament where Germany's 16 states are represented, and Merkel's personal popularity remains high.

The vote in Schleswig-Holstein is seen as a dress rehearsal for a much more significant election in the bellwether state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on May 13.

As Germany's most populous state with 18 million people and a major industrial base, NRW's centre-left minority government fell after just 22 months over a budget dispute.

The state historically plays a big role in federal politics - in 2005, a lost vote in NRW prompted then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to call a snap federal election which he then lost to Merkel.

Story continues below…

A poor result for the FDP there would be seen as possibly destabilising the ruling coalition nationally, around 16 months before the federal poll.

But their performance in Schleswig-Holstein will at least take some of the pressure off their leader Philipp Rösler, who is also economy minister.

"It's a turning point. We were not dead," said the FDP's parliamentary chief, Rainer Brüderle.

AFP/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

22:57 May 6, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
From the look on her face she is about to crap a hedgehog.
02:18 May 7, 2012 by DOZ
The Sky is Falling Henny Penny. The Sky is Falling.
09:18 May 7, 2012 by AlexR
She has lost even greater power in other two state elections... in France and Greece.

No surprises there. This is what happens when you try to intervene to the national elections of another... state.
Today's headlines
'We'll freeze Turkey talks' warns EU as arrests continue
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a radical purge against anyone suspected of complicity in the coup attempt. Photo: DPA

As Turkish authorities on Friday widened their sweeping post-coup crackdown to the business sector, the European Union's enlargement commissioner implicitly warned that the bloc would freeze Turkey's accession talks if the crackdown violated the rule of law.

I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

Opinion
How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
10,718
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd