Chancellor Angela Merkel has received a significant boost a week ahead of Germany’s general election and her bid for a third term. Her allies swept to victory in the Bavarian state election on Sunday, regaining the absolute majority they lost in 2008.
The Christian Social Union won 49 percent, helping its leader Horst Seehofer fulfill an election pledge to Merkel that his party would set an upbeat tone for next week’s poll.
The opposition Social Democrats celebrated a slightly better performance than five years ago but it is very unlikely to lift their chances of re-creating Germany’s grand coalition.
The conservative’s show of strength was dented somewhat, however, by the pro-business Free Democrats, with whom Merkel governs in a centre-right coalition.
They slumped to just 3 percent, below the five needed for assembly seats. FDP leader Phillip Rosler describe the result as a “wake-up call.”
“We all know that clocks run differently in Bavaria but our response now is, let’s get going. Now it’s about Germany,” he said.
But while the FDP’s result may activate their voters nationwide, Merkel’s party’s share of votes could be hit hardest by a new anti-euro party, the Alternative for Deutschland, the AfD.
It did not stand in the powerful southern state, as Bavaria already has its own eurosceptic party, the Freie Waehler, but it remains an unknown
quantity which may prove attractive to the high number of undecided voters who have lingering concerns over Merkel’s handling of the euro-crisis.