German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have suffered their worst defeat in an election since the second world war.
In the Hamburg state poll the CDU’s share of the vote fell a record 21 points, handing a massive victory to the opposition Social Democrats.
The result could have serious repercussions for the other six state elections due to take place this year.
In a news conference after the defeat,Merkel blamed local political changes for the defeat. She said that when the Christian Democrat Mayor Ole von Beust resigned, he handed over power to Christoph Ahlhaus. This angered the voters of Hamburg because Ahlhaus was not elected by them.
The winning candidate, Olaf Scholz, promised to govern the city of Hamburg with pragmatism, which he said must play an important role in politics.
He said politicians need to deal with economic competence and social unrest, together, instead of simply speaking out against them.