A senior ally of Angela Merkel has stepped down as state premier of Thuringia in a move which could see her Christian Democrats cling on to power.Dietmar Althaus has been under increasing pressure to resign from the opposition as well as his own party following disappointing state election results last Sunday. Support for his party dipped by nearly 12 percent wiping out their absolute majority. Regional leaders in the oppostion Social Democrats had ruled out forming a “grand coalition” if Althaus stayed on. Althaus saw his popularity dip after he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for crashing into and killing a 41-year-old woman on a ski slope in Austria on New Year’s day. Althaus himself sustained serious head injuries and spent four months recuperating. He also caused an uproar weeks before the state election by suggesting that federal subsidies for eastern regions that date back to German reunification in 1990 should be pared back.