In Germany regional elections are underway and polls show that Angela Merkel’s Conservative party is in danger of losing control of a regional stronghold.
The Saxony-Anhalt state, with a voting population of 2 million, is one of the poorest in Germany and was once part of East Germany. The Left Party, which is mainly ex-communists, led by Wulf Gallert, are likely to make a strong showing here according to polls.
If the Social Democrats, currently in coalition with the Conservative party, decide to throw their lot in with the Left Party, this could mean Angela Merkel’s coalition losing seats in the upper chamber of parliament in Berlin.
In the face of nuclear worries sparked by the Japanese disaster, she has recently shut down seven of Germany’s oldest nuclear power plants for safety tests – a move which some commentators have dismissed as mere electioneering.