BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies scored a resounding win in a state vote yesterday, estimates showed, giving her a strong boost one week ahead of a general election.
The conservative ruling Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, captured an absolute majority of seats in the regional parliament with 49 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results on public television. Its outsized victory means it can drop its junior partners, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), who crashed out of the regional parliament with a disastrous three percent.
“This is a beautiful day for the CSU,” federal agriculture minister Ilse Aigner, a leading member of the party, told public broadcaster ARD.
Merkel campaigned heavily in the state’s world-famous beer tents, pointing out that a big win in Bavaria would lend momentum to her bid for a third term at the helm of Europe’s top economic power. National polls give Merkel’s conservatives an around 14-point lead over the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD), who scored about 21 percent in Bavaria, historically a conservative state.
An SPD leader, Andrea Nahles, put a positive shine on the result.
“We are the only opposition party that made gains,” she told reporters.
“I think we have a very exciting week ahead of ourselves. We’ve shown that we were able to make some progress in recent days.”
The ecologist Greens turned in a dismal 8.5 percent, in keeping with a downward trend on the national level. AFP