The first step towards Germany’s general election in September started today .
Roland Koch, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel faced the ballot box in Hessen and won, by almost 40 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls. His victory boosts Merkel in the federal vote in eight months. His win not only paved the way for an alliance with the Free Democrats in Hessen but also on a national level. The FDP was his party’s preferred coalition partner, rather than the Social Democrats who were the big losers in the Hessen poll, seeing twenty three per cent of their vote slipping away, according to exit figures. 2009 has already been dubbed Germany’s super election year. Sunday’s election, was dominated by issues surrounding the economic crisis, but the result is a huge approval for Merkel’s handling of it.