• Germany's news in English
 

Merkel loses power in state election

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.

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
German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq
The twin brothers are both reported to have died in suicide attacks. Photo: Dabiq magazine

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq

Germans twins from Castrop-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia have died fighting for the Islamist group Isis in Iraq, the militia's official magazine reported in its latest publication. READ  

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink
Photo: DPA

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink

Thieves have stolen toilet seats, taps and loo paper holders from the new interior ministry building in Berlin, making it difficult for mandarins to get comfortable in their new surroundings. READ  

Berlin jumps ahead on new rent control law
Blocks of flats in the Berlin district of Wedding. Photo: DPA

Berlin jumps ahead on new rent control law

Berlin is to be the only state in Germany to introduce rent controls immediately after the law allowing them comes into effect on June 1st. READ  

Ireland vote builds gay marriage momentum
Photo: DPA

Ireland vote builds gay marriage momentum

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is feeling the pressure from opposition MPs, its own gay supporters and its Social Democratic Party (SPD) allies to look again at allowing gay marriage after Ireland's popular "yes" vote on Friday. READ  

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'
Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, online retailer Amazon has started paying tax on profits from its sales to German customers in Germany instead of in Luxembourg READ  

German woman, 65, has quadruplets
Photo: DPA

German woman, 65, has quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine. READ  

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia
Photo: DPA

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia

The remains of about 20 people, thought to be German and Italian soldiers killed in Bosnia during World War II, have been exhumed in the east of the country, officials said Friday. READ  

Sotheby's sells Nazi-era art trove find
Some 1,600 works of art were found behind this door in 2012. Photo: DPA

Sotheby's sells Nazi-era art trove find

A painting by Max Liebermann from a Nazi-era art trove found in Germany last year will go on sale in London next month, the first from the collection to be sold off, Sotheby's said on Friday. READ  

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,663
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd