Merkel suffers another election setback in key German state of Hesse

Merkel suffers another election setback in key German state of Hesse
Copyright Reuters
By Claire Heffron with Reuters
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Both the parties in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition have suffered heavy losses in a regional election, exit polls suggest.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition allies in Berlin both lost support in a regional election in the western state of Hesse on Sunday, dealing a blow to the fragile national government.

Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) came home first but polled just 28 percent of the vote, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD showed. 

That marked a big drop from the 38.3 percent the CDU won at the last Hesse election, in 2013.

The SPD won 20 percent, down from 30.7 percent in 2013, and pipped the ecologist Greens, on 19.5 percent, into third place. 

The result suggests the CDU and Greens could continue their ruling coalition in Hesse but is likely to increase tensions in Merkel’s ruling ‘grand coalition’ in Berlin.

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