Germany’s Christian Democrats confident after state poll win

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dpatop - Chancellor Angela Merkel and Armin Laschet Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa-Pool/dpa
dpatop - Chancellor Angela Merkel and Armin Laschet Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa-Pool/dpa

With an eye on national elections in September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) are seeking to take maximum profit from a state poll win on the weekend.

The CDU’s Armin Laschet, a frontrunner to succeed Merkel as chancellor after the national elections, is set to hold a press conference this afternoon alongside Reiner Haseloff, who led the CDU to an unexpectedly strong victory in the Saxony-Anhalt election on Sunday.

Ralph Brinkhaus, who leads the centre-right bloc in the national parliament, said the Saxony-Anhalt result showed that the CDU was “ready for government” under Laschet.

Haseloff is now pondering his coalition options in the former
East German state, after the CDU won just over 37 per cent in Sunday’s regional elections.

The far-right AfD came second with nearly 21 per cent, but will be excluded from coalition negotiations as all other mainstream parties had already ruled out cooperating with the AfD.

Other possible coalition partners for Haseloff include the hard-left Die Linke, centre-left Social Democrats, the Greens or the liberal FDP, none of which exceeded 11 per cent.

“We don’t want a party that flip-flops,” Haseloff told public broadcaster ARD on Monday. The search for a coalition partner would be pursued “in all directions,” he said.

While the Saxony-Anhalt poll was a boost for the CDU, it was seen as something of a setback for several other parties seeking success in the September 26 elections.

The Greens, which are running almost neck and neck with CDU in the national polls and have high hopes for September, had a particularly disappointing showing. They increased their vote share by just 0.7 percentage points compared to the last regional polls in 2016.

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