German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has suffered a crushing defeat in the Hamburg state election. It is the worst result for the Christian Democrats since the second world war.
The defeat, in Germany’s second city, could have repercussions for the other six state elections this year.
The CDU plunged almost 21 points in the poll, handing a massive victory to the opposition Social Democratic Party, which promised a much more practical form of politics.
The winning candidate, Olaf Scholz, said the SDP promised to govern the city of Hamburg “like it should, with pragmatism playing an important role in politics”.
He added that economic competence and social unrest “should be dealt with together, instead of simply being opposed.”
The loss of three seats in Germany’s upper house will make it harder for Merkel’s centre-right coalition to pass legislation. Analysts said it could limit her room for manoeuvre in the euro zone, and increase domestic pressure against Berlin paying the bill for other EU states.