Merkel's party suffers severe defeat

2012-05-13 22:42

kalahari.com

  • Angela Merkel
    The meteoric rise of Germany's first female chancellor and one of the world's most powerful women. Now R753.00
    buy now

Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel's party suffered a severe defeat on Sunday in a pivotal German state vote likely to award her main rivals a major boost in their bid to soften her austerity drive in Europe.

Around 16 months before national elections, the snap poll in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous with 18 million people, is closely watched as a taste of things to come at federal level.

While Germans nationally back Merkel and her tough stance on European belt tightening and debt reduction, voters in NRW handed her conservatives their worst ever result in the western state.

Her Christian Democatic Union (CDU) won just over 26%, according to preliminary results, while the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) took 39% in NRW, home to the Ruhr industrial heartland.

The result is a further blow to Merkel, a week after her strategy for fighting the eurozone crisis took a hit in Greek and French votes, prompting her to warn against "growth on credit".

It also comes two days before she hosts French president-elect Francois Hollande who campaigned on a pledge to renegotiate the eurozone's fiscal pact for tighter budgetary rigour which Merkel argues is essential to underpin the continent's eventual recovery.

The SPD has echoed calls by Hollande to place more emphasis on growth in the fiscal pact and Merkel, who needs a two-thirds majority in parliament to ratify the fiscal pact, will therefore need opposition support.

"We put people at the centre," the SPD's incumbent state premier Hannelore Kraft said, who looked set to form another coalition with the ecologist Green party but, this time, with a majority.

The Greens scored 11.5%, according to the preliminary results, while the upstart Pirate party continued its winning streak with more than seven percent.

Defeat bitter

This enables the party which campaigns on a platform of more transparency in the political process and internet freedom to enter the state parliament, its fourth entry into a regional parliament since September.

Notching up a success in the vote was Merkel's pro-business coalition partners at the federal level, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), which confirmed a reversal of its fortunes, after a string of humiliating defeats.

Hot on the heels of its better-than-expected result last Sunday in Schleswig-Holstein state, the FDP took about 8.4%, significantly better than the around three percent it is polling nationally.

"The defeat is bitter and it really hurts," said the CDU's main contender Norbert Roettgen, who is also Merkel's environment minister.

He had faced off against Kraft in the poll, which was triggered after the minority state government unexpectedly fell when the regional parliament failed to pass a draft budget after just 22 months in power.

Kraft had argued the need for public savings but also focused on jobs, education and nursery places, while Roettgen took aim at the SPD contender for clocking up public debt.

Roettgen's campaign ran into trouble when he failed to commit to staying in opposition in the region if he lost Sunday's vote. He later had to backtrack after reportedly irking party allies by saying the NRW vote was a referendum on Merkel's policy on Europe.

Citizens tired

The Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper said Kraft had won over people with her social policy.

"That she further increased the deficit despite growing revenues, people did not hold against her, quite the opposite,

"Obviously, the message from Duesseldorf to Berlin, is that the citizens are tired of the drive for consolidation," it said.

The vote was the third regional election in Germany in eight weeks and comes a week after Merkel's centre-right coalition lost power in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Merkel plans to fight for a third term in elections due in late 2013.

NRW historically plays a big role in federal politics - in 2005, a lost vote in the state prompted then chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to call a snap federal election which saw Merkel wrest power from him.

- SAPA

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany  |  german elections
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

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
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 Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...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.