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Hamburg election: Greens make major gains, AfD support falls

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SPD top candidate and First Mayor of Hamburg Peter Tschentscher celebrates with supporters after exit polls for the Hamburg state elections announced on Feb. 23, 2020.
SPD top candidate and First Mayor of Hamburg Peter Tschentscher celebrates with supporters after exit polls for the Hamburg state elections announced on Feb. 23, 2020.   -   Copyright  Christian Charisius/dpa via AP
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The Green party surged in Hamburg state election on Sunday to claim the second place while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) could lose all their seats.

Despite coming in second, the Green party appear to be the biggest winner of the state election, surging more than 13 percentage points since the 2015 ballot to gather over a quarter of the votes, according to projections from pollster infratest dimap.

Still, they came a distant second behind the Social Democratic Party (SPD) who retained their first spot with 37.5% — albeit in a slightly weaker position than previously as their score is down 8.5%.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party suffered yet another electoral blow recording its lowest score ever in the regional vote.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) scored just 11.5%, down 4.5% from the 2015 ballot and coming in third.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) slipped 1.4% to score 4.7% — below the 5% threshold to enter parliament which, if the score is confirmed, could see it lose its 8 seats in the regional legislature.

The ballot in Hamburg is the first one to take place since the CDU was thrown into chaos earlier this month when leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer — seen as Merkel's likely successor to the Chancellery — resigned after CDU delegates in the Thuringia state defied her to cooperate with the AfD.

The AfD's score may have been impacted by the terror attack in the central city of Hanau last week in which nine people were killed. Authorities believe the 43-year-old gunman had a far-right motive for the killing.

A poll released on Sunday in Bild am Sonntag found that 60% of respondents agreed that the AfD is partly responsible for right-wing extremist violence in the country.

The Greens have attributed their score to young voters. Figures by infratest dimap showed over a third of voters under the age of 44 had cast their vote for the Green Party.