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Merkel party retains German state but battle looms

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Merkel party retains German state but battle looms

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Germany’s ruling conservatives are celebrating success in provincial elections but a tougher test lies ahead next week.

The CDU emerged strongest in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. Its governing coalition there with the Social Democrats, the SPD, looks set to be renewed. That likelihood was confirmed by Sigmar Gabriel, the national leader of the left-of-centre SPD, which only managed third place in the poll.

The runner-up was the far-left political movement Die Linke. Its candidate Wulf Gallert hopes the Social Democrats will join forces with his Left Party to run Saxony-Anhalt.

For Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, it is so far so good, but the party risks suffering a major setback next weekend in the much bigger state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.