Germany: Merkel’s CDU in crisis after setback in regional polls
The CDU, the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suffered record defeats in two regional votes on Sunday amid anger over a muddled coronavirus response, including a face mask procurement scandal and a sluggish vaccine rollout.
Sunday’s rout in the southwestern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate raised questions about the CDU’s chances in a September 26 general election, when Germans will choose a successor to Merkel.
“It can’t go on like this,” the Der Spiegel weekly said, adding Merkel’s house was “on fire”.
In the southwestern automotive hub of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Greens won 31.4 percent of the vote and the CDU 23.4 percent, projections based on early results for broadcaster ZDF showed.
In neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) came first again with 35.5 percent of the vote ahead of the CDU, which led there in opinion polls until last month but secured only 26.9 percent support in Sunday’s election.
The results were the CDU’s worst in post-World War II Germany in both states.
“This is not a good election evening for the CDU,” a glum-looking Paul Ziemiak, the party’s secretary general, told reporters after the exit poll results.
The Greens were jubilant.
“This is a super start to the super election year,” said Robert Habeck, the co-leader of the Greens, suggesting that the outcome was a good omen in a national election year.
A lot is possible’
Along with fears of a potential third coronavirus wave, CDU officials worry the party’s reputation took a hit in the last two weeks when several conservative legislators quit over allegations they received payments for arranging procurement deals.
The CDU has seen its national popularity wane from 40 percent last June, when Germany was widely praised for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, to approximately 33 percent this month…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera