Far-right AfD barely avoids crashing out of Hamburg parliament

Germany's far-right AfD party will return to Hamburg's state parliament by the skin of its teeth, official results showed, after exit polls from weekend elections suggested it would crash out.

Far-right AfD barely avoids crashing out of Hamburg parliament
AfD members and leadership celebrate during an election party in Hamburg.

Initially predicted to pick up 4.8 percent of Sunday's vote in the city state, the final count put AfD at 5.3 percent, just above the five-percent minimum required to enter parliament under German electoral law.

READ ALSO: Hamburg voters punish German right and Merkel's CDU

The anti-immigrant party nonetheless suffered losses compared to the last state elections in 2015, when they picked up 6.1 percent of the vote.

Largely unpopular in the cosmopolitan port city, the AfD struggled further in the wake of a racist attack which killed nine in central German city Hanau last week.

“Getting in by a whisker is a huge success in this case because we were subjected to campaigns from the entire political establishment of the city of Hamburg,” said regional AfD leader Dirk Nockemann.

The liberal FDP party, meanwhile, also appeared to edge over the five-percent hurdle to retain its place in Hamburg's parliament.

This graphic shows, in percentage, which parts of Hamburg voted the lowest and highest for the AfD. Graph: DPA

Final estimates put the FDP on five percent exactly, although with some constituencies yet to finalize their counts, their fate remained in the balance on Monday morning.

The liberal party was hit hard by a recent scandal in the eastern state of Thuringia where their candidate was elected state premier with the help of votes from the AfD.

“After the latest projections, it's likely that AfD will stay [in parliament] and that the FDP muss continue to be worried.”

The move broke a taboo on cooperation with the far right and unleashed a national scandal which also plunged Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party into crisis.

The centre-right party also suffered embarrassment at the Hamburg polls, slipping to just 11.2 percent of the vote, a showing nearly five percentage points worse than in 2015.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.