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Merkel suffers heavy losses in Hesse elections: exit poll

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Merkel suffers heavy losses in Hesse elections: exit poll
CDU ministers in Hesse after the results are announced. Photo: DPA
18:10 CET+01:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party suffered heavy losses in Sunday's regional election in Hesse state, according to an exit poll.

The CDU remained the largest party, but lost around 10 percentage points to score 28 percent of the vote, public broadcaster ZDF reported, while junior federal government partners the Social Democrats (SPD) shed almost 11 points to land on just 20 percent.

Green party members at an election party following the announcement of the results.

As in Bavaria, the CDU/CSU and SPD suffered massive losses in the Hesse state elections.
 
Prime Minister Volker Bouffier's CDU remained the strongest party on Sunday, but according to forecasts by ARD and ZDF, the party achieved its worst result in the state in more than 50 years. The SPD also received its worst result ever in Hesse.
 
The big election winners are the Greens, who scored their best results so far in a Hesse election, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD).
 
 
The right-wing populists moved into the state parliament for the first time and are now represented in all 16 state parliaments.
 
The Free Democrats (FDP) and Die Linke (Left Party) also remain in the federal state parliament in Hesse's capital of Wiesbaden. That means that Hessen has a six-party parliament for the first time.
 
Building pressure 
 
The downswing of the CDU and SPD in Hesse could also put further pressure on the CDU and SPD leaders, Angela Merkel and Andrea Nahles, as well as the Grand Coalition (GroKo) in Berlin. The election campaign in Hesse was burdened by GroKo disputes about migration policy and the diesel crisis. 
 

Bouffier is regarded as a confidant of Merkel. In light of his losses in Hesse, it is possible that the calls for Merkel to be replaced as the CDU leader will become louder yet again.

Only two weeks ago, the CDU sister party CSU and the Social Democrats suffered heavy losses in the Bavarian elections. 

SEE ALSO: The winners and losers: 7 Things you need to know about the Bavaria election

Nevertheless, for a long time it looked as if an alliance between these two parties would be a realistic option in Hesse, DPA reported. But in the final tail of the election campaign, the Greens, who have becoming stronger nationwide, made considerable progress.

In addition to the 66-year-old Bouffier and Hesse’s top SPD candidate Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, who had already competed in Hesse for the third time, the focus was once again on the Green top candidate and the Minister of Economics Tarek Al-Wazir.

SEE ALSO: Hesse's Green Party candidate Tarek Al-Wazir could become minister president 

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