• Germany edition
 
Merkel loses power in state election
Photo: DPA

Merkel loses power in state election

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Man shot in tax office dispute
DPA

Man shot in tax office dispute

A tax office worker in the Schleswig-Holstein town of Rendsburg died in hospital after being shot on Monday morning. READ  

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs
Angela Merkel addressing the Bundestag on Monday as her ministers look on. Photo: DPA

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag on Monday to explain her government's decision to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds fighting terrorist group Isis. READ  

Olympic visions compete in Berlin and Hamburg
Berlin and Hamburg mayors Klaus Wowereit and Olaf Scholz on Monday. Photos: DPA

Olympic visions compete in Berlin and Hamburg

Germany's capital and its gateway to the North Sea each released details of their Olympic bids on Monday as the race for the 2024 or 2028 summer games nominations picks up momentum. READ  

Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria
Photo: DPA

Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria

Six people were infected with a bacteria from the Caribbean which has made itself at home in the popular German vacation destination. One of them is now in a coma. READ  

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees
DPA

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees

UNHCR Commissioner Antonio Guterres is lauding Germany's role in accommodating the influx of refugees in Europe, while pointing at the imbalance of effort within the EU. The federal government has pledged to do more. READ  

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome
Photo: DPA

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome

Starting on Monday, vacuum cleaners drawing more than 1600 watts can no longer be brought into Germany. The ban is part of a an EU-wide environmental protection measure. READ  

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote
CDU leader Stanislav Tillich with SPD Martig Dulig. Photo: DPA

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic (CDU) party is in search of a new partner after the expulsion of its former allies the Free Democrats (FDP) from the Saxon state parliament. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation
Photo: Phorms Education

Bilingual education from nursery to graduation

A network of German based schools is changing how students learn languages by introducing English and Deutsch from day one, with the method yielding impressive academic results. The Local finds out more about Phorms Education. READ  

JobTalk Germany
'German bosses need to praise more'
More of this? Photo: Shutterstock

'German bosses need to praise more'

What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice. READ  

Train drivers take their turn to strike
A banner announcing a previous rail strike in June is displayed in a station. Photo: DPA

Train drivers take their turn to strike

A train drivers' union has warned of a nationwide strike to take place on Monday evening as it seeks leverage in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,418
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd