Merkel laments 'painful' election-year

2013-01-21 16:29
Angela Merkel (Barbara Sax, AFP)

Angela Merkel (Barbara Sax, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called a knife-edge defeat in a state poll "painful" and said her party had work to do to shore up support ahead of the September general election.

Merkel's ruling centre-right camp lost its decade-long hold on the north-eastern state of Lower Saxony by just one seat to the opposition Social Democrats and Greens on Sunday in one of the tightest races in recent memory.

"Of course when you have been on such an emotional roller coaster then a defeat is that much more painful," she told reporters after huddling with her Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

"We have got to ensure that we in future election campaigns get the necessary majorities together."

The stunning upset left her junior coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), reeling after months of anaemic poll numbers and sniping at their luckless leader, Economy Minister Philipp Roesler.

Roesler, who is also Merkel's vice chancellor, offered on Monday to step down after nearly two years at the helm of the FDP but the party declined.

However, he will not carry the FDP's banner into the national election in eight months' time, leaving the job to his chief rival, parliamentary group leader Rainer Bruederle.

After a suspense-packed race with broad implications for the general election, the centre-left said it aimed to use its victory to create fresh momentum for its bid to deprive Merkel of a third four-year term.

"It shows the race until September is far from over," said Peer Steinbrueck, the Social Democrats' embattled challenger to Merkel.

Merkel, who campaigned hard for state Premier David McAllister, a half-Scot seen as a potential successor as chancellor, enjoys a strong lead in national opinion polls due to her fierce defence of German interests in the eurozone crisis.

But pundits said the state win could help turn around the battered campaign of the gaffe-prone Steinbrueck.

A ‘nightmare’ for the chancellor

The website of news weekly Der Spiegel described the result as a "nightmare" for the chancellor.

"It could not have been worse for Merkel and the CDU," it wrote.

"The message for the national election is clear: The fight for the chancellery will be much more brutal than Merkel imagined."

The FDP managed to capture nearly 10% in the state election - more than doubling many pollsters' forecasts and garnering their best result in Lower Saxony in post-war history.

But their success came at their allies' expense.

The CDU scored just 36%, with voters splitting their ballots under Germany's two-vote system in a bid to rescue the state coalition by helping the weak FDP.

Around 101 000 voters who backed the conservatives in 2008 plumped for the FDP this time, exit polls showed.

"The black-yellow camp is not growing," Der Spiegel wrote, referring to Merkel's alliance.

"It is cannibalising itself."

Roesler, who was born in Vietnam and raised by German adoptive parents in Lower Saxony, had been under fire for months due to dismal poll ratings and a failure to sharpen the FDP's profile against Merkel's conservatives.

The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the election granted both the flailing FDP and the ailing Social Democrats a possible new lease of life.

"The FDP now has time to recover, to sort itself out," it wrote.

"The SPD has the same task ahead."

Meanwhile, Merkel was full of praise for the defeated McAllister, sparking speculation she might whisk him to Berlin for a senior party post and groom him for higher office.

After Lower Saxony, only the southern state of Bavaria is expected to vote before the general election.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 16:58 PM
    Road name: Plattekloof Road Both Ways
    DELAYS between the Koeberg Road and the N7 Highway
  • Wednesday Delft - 16:57 PM
    Road name: Stellenbosch Arterial Road Westbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Blackheath and Delft Main Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.