German coalition loses election in key state
BERLIN — Germany's center-left opposition won a wafer-thin victory over Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition in a major state election on Sunday, dealing a setback as she seeks a third term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy later this year.
The opposition Social Democrats and Greens won a single-seat majority in the state legislature in Lower Saxony, ousting the coalition of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union and the pro-market Free Democrats that has run the northwestern region for 10 years. The same parties form the national government.
The 58-year-old Merkel will seek another four-year term in a national parliamentary election expected in September. She and her party are riding high in national polls, but the opposition hoped the Lower Saxony vote would show she is vulnerable. The outcome could boost what so far has been a sputtering campaign by Merkel's Social Democratic challenger, Peer Steinbrueck.
“This evening gives us real tailwind for the national election,” said Katrin Goering-Eckardt, a leader of Steinbrueck's allies, the Greens. “We can and will manage to replace the (center-right) coalition.”
However, the close outcome underscores the possibility of a messy result in September, with no clear winner.
Before the election, the main question had been whether the Free Democrats, whose support has eroded badly since they joined Merkel's national government in 2009, would win the 5 percent needed to gain seats in the state legislature. Polls in recent months had suggested that they might not.
The Free Democrats won 9.9 percent of the vote, thanks to tactical voting by supporters of Merkel's conservatives. Many chose the smaller party so that the coalition's “good policies for solid budgets, safe jobs and good education could be continued,” said the general secretary of Merkel's party, Hermann Groehe.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders
- Hamas insists terrorist leader still alive despite Israeli barrage
- Social media being used to help catch British terrorist who killed Foley
- Liberian slum sealed off as Ebola deaths mount
- Peruvian nurse cares for 175 terminally ill cats
- Bombed factories in Gaza raise ire
- Iraqi terrorists are Islam’s enemy, Saudi cleric warns
- Landslide in Japan leaves dozens dead
- N. Korea aims for Kerry’s jaw as string of insults continues
- Pope’s small car fascinates South Koreans
- Russian convoy stopped at border