Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition allies have both haemorrhaged support in a regional election in the western German state of Hesse,
An exit poll by national broadcaster ARD put Merkel's CDU first with 28 percent of the vote -- down 10 percent from the last Hesse election in 2013. The ecologist Green party came in third with 19.5 percent.
The result suggests the CDU and Greens could continue their ruling coalition in Hesse but it's likely to increase tensions in Merkel's 'grand coalition' in Berlin.
The SPD polled 20 percent, down from more than 30 percent last election.
Sunday's (October 28) vote is a fresh blow to the national government, coming two weeks after regional elections in Bavaria handed the CDU their worst result since 1950