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German Chancellor’s “Painful” Loss In State Poll …

  • January 22nd, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

merkel-resize.jpgVote counting in the German state of Lower Saxony has given the election there to the opposition Social Democrat (SPD) and Green parties, defeating a coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU) and the liberal Free Democrats, affiliates of the federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel (picture).

The swing was no more than a few percentage points, just enough to make the change of government; delivering a one-seat majority to the combined SPD (33% of votes) and Greens (13%), against the CDU (36%) and Free Democrats (10%).

Yet it was a powerful psychological blow, described by the Chancellor as “painful”, because it provided as well, a majority to the Opposition in the Bundesrat, the upper house of federal parliament in Berlin, where members are sent by the states.

It was also the twelfth defeat in a row for the conservative side in state elections; steadily undermining its position in that house, and now allowing the Opposition to initiate, or block legislation – in the lead-up to national elections in September.

Angela Merkel had been hoping for a better outcome, on the strength of recent positive growth figures for the economy, and strong opinion poll support for herself; as a moderate and steady hand, ably managing the impacts of Europe’s debt crisis since 2008.

Counting time spent sharing government with the SPD in a Grand Coalition, she has had two four-year terms in office; and now has been looking for momentum, against significant resistance, towards getting a third.


David Crossland, “CDU Loses Lower Saxony: State Defeat Heralds Tough Re-Election Fight for Merkel”, Spiegel Online International, 21.1.13., (22.1.13).

Stephen Evans, “German opposition wins Lower Saxony election”, BBC News, London, 21.1.13., (22.1.13).