Sunday 22 October 2017

Merkel's allies take state polls by storm

German Chancellor Merkel
German Chancellor Merkel

Christiaan Hetzner in Munich

Angela Merkel's allies swept to victory in the Bavaria state election yesterday, regaining the absolute assembly majority they lost in 2008, a week before Germany goes to the polls.

The Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), won 49pc according to TV projections, putting them back in charge of the southern state they have governed for 56 years.

However, the Free Democrats (FDP) – the junior partner in her centre-right coalition, slumped to just 3pc, below the 5pc needed for assembly seats.

"The CSU is a people's party and we are deeply rooted in the Bavarian population. Every second Bavarian voted for us," state premier Horst Seehofer told elated supporters.

Merkel, whose conservative bloc stands at around 40pc, needs the FDP to do well in the federal vote to avoid having to turn to the opposition Social Democrats (SPD).

Senior CDU lawmakers moved quickly yesterday to dissuade conservatives from splitting their vote next week.

"The second vote is the 'Merkel vote', and we want it for our party," said CDU General Secretary Hermann Groehe.

Irish Independent

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