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German SPD suffers state vote rout in jolt to Merkel coalition

German SPD suffers state vote rout in jolt to Merkel coalition
Social Democratic Party (SPD) supporters react on first exit polls following the European Parliament election in Berlin, Germany, May 26, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch -
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Social Democrats bled support in the state of Bremen on Sunday, failing to win most votes for the first time since 1946 in a major blow that could hasten the end of their national coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) won just 24.5% of the vote in Bremen, down from 32.8% in 2015. Bremen is Germany's smallest state but failing to come first is a major setback in its northern bastion and a big psychological blow.

Merkel's CDU came first in Bremen with 25.5% of the vote, according to an exit poll on ARD television.

Both the SPD and Merkel's conservative bloc suffered losses in European elections also held on Sunday, bleeding support to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in a further test for their loveless national coalition government.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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