Friday 18 October 2019

Merkel's allies face up to historic power shift


German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Reuters

Justin Huggler

A key ally of Angela Merkel faces historic losses in regional elections in Bavaria next month, according to the findings of a shock new poll.

The Christian Social Union (CSU), which has governed Bavaria since 1946, has lost almost a third of its support, the ARD television poll found.

The findings will send shockwaves through Ms Merkel's already fragile coalition. But for once it is not the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) that is the biggest threat to the chancellor and her allies.

Instead, a dramatic surge has propelled the Green Party to second in the poll, on 18pc.

The AfD had hoped to make its first serious inroads in a west German state, but it is stuck in fifth with only 10pc.

If the poll's findings are borne out by the election, they could cause a seismic shift in German politics, which has been focused on the battle with the AfD for the right for the past year.

Major gains for the Greens could herald a resurgence of the centre-left. But the opinion polls were predicting a similar Green surge before last year's general election and it didn't happen. And last year's polls severely underestimated the AfD vote.

What is clear is the dissatisfaction with Ms Merkel's coalition, with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) also facing losses.

The CSU is still favourite to come first in Bavaria, but it will have to find a coalition partner to stay in power - something it has only once done before. The CSU has seen its support drop from 47.7pc to just 33pc in the poll.

Irish Independent

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