A nationalist, anti-immigration party has beaten Angela Merkel’s conservatives into third place in a state election in her own political fiefdom. It is a major success for the AFD party ahead of next year’s national poll.
Success for the AFD or Alternative Fuer Deutschland party saw it win just under 21 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Merkel’s CDU managed only 19 percent, its worst ever result in the northeastern state.
“Finally, there is a credible opposition. Hopefully we will have another one in a year’s time in Berlin. Maybe today is the beginning of the end of Angela Merkel,” said Leif-Erik Holm, the AFD’s main candidate in the state.
The election was won by the centre-left SPD, but with a reduced score of 30 percent. It may still be able to continue its coalition in the state with Angela Merkel’s CDU despite the stinging defeat for the Chancellor in her home region.
It comes one year ahead of federal elections and exactly one year after she decided to open Germany’s borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Commentators say she now faces the run-up to the national poll, pencilled in for September 2017, in a much weaker position.