Germany's opposition conservatives make gains in two state elections

Bavarians voting in state election on October 8th 2023.
Bavarians voting in state election on October 8th 2023. Copyright Andreas Arnold/(c) Copyright 2023, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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Germany's centre-right opposition won two state elections on Sunday at the halfway mark of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's unpopular national government, projections showed.


The far-right Alternative for Germany party has also made gains projections showed, a blow for Chancellor Olaf Scholz's centre-left coalition government halfway through its term.

The election campaigns were dominated by discontent with the government in Berlin and by calls for the number of migrants arriving in Germany to be reduced.

The interior minister Nancy Faeser, who leads the federal response on migration, also suffered a heavy defeat in a bid to become governor of her home state.

Projections for ARD and ZDF public television based on exit polls and partial counting showed the CSU, which has led Bavaria since 1957, extending that run with support of around 37% — little changed from five years ago and around 20 points ahead of its nearest rival.

In Hesse, the CDU was seen winning about 35% of the vote, making gains and also far ahead of its rivals.

The far-right AFD party, which has risen to second place in national polls, won’t be a factor in determining the states' new governments, as other parties refused to work with it.

But the projections showed it winning 15% to 16% of the vote in Bavaria and 16% to 17% in Hesse, improving on double-digit showings when those two states last voted in 2018.

And its increasing popularity will mean it will be harder for Germany to have governments with stable majorities.

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