Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union (UDC), categorically defeated the extreme right in a provincial election considered the last test of German political parties before the general elections in September. It is Merkel’s last election as head of the German government.
The UDC won with 36.2% of the votes in Saxony-Anhal against 22% of the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), a slight decrease compared to what was achieved in 2016. The vote for Merkel’s party is 6 points higher than what it obtained in elections five years ago in that province of 2.2 million people.
While elections in Germany’s 16 states are usually decided on local issues, are seen as a thermometer of national sentiment. A decisive victory for the UDC is interpreted as an omen that the new leader Armin Laschet will gain support from conservatives and centrists ahead of the national elections on September 26, when the UDC aspires to re-election to power despite the fact that Merkel does not he ran for a fifth term.
Results can also be interpreted as a hint of support from the Governor of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, who is from the UDC. Haseloff, 67, whose popularity attracted many voters, has ruled out the possibility of reaching an agreement with the AfD or with the former communists today grouped in the Left Party and who obtained only 10.9% of votes in the state. .
Angela Merkel, winner in these elections in Saxony. Photo EFE
The Social Democrats center-left also performed worse than five years ago, with a projected support of 8.4%, while the Green Party increased its support with 6.2%. The pro-business Free Democrats party obtained 6.5% and entered the local legislature.
Haseloff expressed relief that voters they preferred established parties and not to extremes, stating that the results show that “a great, great majority decided on democracy and clearly moved away from the right.”
The AfD had campaigned against the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, and its electoral posters called on the population to show their “Resistance” in the vote.
“This is a sensational result,” declared the CDU general secretary, Paul Ziemiak, and gave the credit mainly to the head of the local government, the conservative Reiner Haseloff, according to the AFP news agency. “I am happy,” declared Haseloff, a member of the largest German party, adding: “People voted against AfD. We have fought together, this is also a message to Berlin ”.
This was the last date at the polls before the historic legislative elections on September 26, which will end Merkel’s 16-year mandate, and the victory of the CDU is good news for Armin Laschet, the unpopular head of the CDU and aspiring to succeed the chancellor.
“Of course, this also gives us a boost for Berlin, now we have won, that is why it is also a victory for Armin Laschet, “said the CDU parliamentary spokesman, Ralph Brinkhaus, in statements to the ARD, according to the Europa Press agency.
Since Laschet took the reins of the CDU in January, the party go through a crisis of confidence due to the failures in the government’s management of the third wave of coronavirus and due to corruption scandals of its deputies in contracts for the purchase of masks.
The CDU, which has already suffered two severe setbacks in two regional elections, also suffered a fierce internal struggle: Laschet’s candidacy was questioned by the head of the Bavarian CSU party Markus Soder, considered more apt to lead the Conservatives.
Most of the polls pointed to a victory for the CDU but also pointed out that the AfD, an anti-immigrant group and the second regional political force since 2016, was on its heels; however, according to the survey, the difference was greater. The far-right movement is going through a national crisisHe for his internal dissensions, but his performance at the local level, particularly in this state, remains of considerable importance.
Source: AFP and EFE