German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party easily beats center-left in state poll

March 26, 2017 2:51 pm

Supporters of the
conservative Christian Democratic party (CDU) cheer after the first
exit polls have been published after the election in the southwestern
German state of Saarland in Saarbruecken, western , March 26,
2017. (Photo by AP)

German Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s party won a regional election Sunday by a wide margin, dealing
an early blow to center-left hopes of ending her more than decade-long
reign.

In the Saarland state vote held six months before a
general election, Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) won 40 percent
against 30 percent for the Social Democrats (SPD), according to early
results reported by public broadcaster ZDF.
Broadcaster ARD estimated a slightly bigger lead for the CDU of 41 percent against 29.5 for the SPD.
The
vote was held in the tiny state of Saarland on the French border, which
has a population of only one million, but was seen as a bellwether
ahead of the September 24 general election in which Merkel is seeking a
fourth term.
The SPD have made strong gains in national opinion
surveys since Martin Schulz, the former president of the European
Parliament, took over in January, and is now polling neck-and-neck
nationally with Merkel’s CDU.
But the “Schulz effect” did not
translate into the strong results the SPD had hoped for in Saarland, a
former coal mining region, which held the first of three German state
polls scheduled in the run-up to the national election.

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