In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives remain the nation’s strongest party despite registering losses in European polls on Sunday, boosting her bid to retain power in September’s federal election.
Merkel’s favoured coalition partner, the pro- business Free Democrat Party FDP was the biggest winner in Sunday’s vote pointing to a possible alliance between the two centre-right parties after the autumn election. The FDP gained 10 per cent of the vote and 11 seats Merkel’s CDU and its sister party, the Christian Socialist Union lost seven seats but still finished with a clear lead on 37.9 per cent of the vote. The CDU’s partner in Merkel’s grand coalition, the SPD came second with 20.8 per cent and one extra seat. Support for the Social Democrats, who have shared power with Merkel’s conservatives in a loveless coalition since 2005, languished at record lows falling 0.7 points, in a blow to Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s hopes of becoming Chancellor. The Greens have established themselves as the third largest force in German politics, scoring 12 per cent, their best ever result in an election at national level.