It was the worst election performance in history for the CDU in the Berlin state elections. “The fact that the anti-EU, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee AfD party could score such a high percentage of the poll in multi-cultural and ‘hip’ Berlin is an indication of how far Merkel has alienated voters with her refusal to change direction on the migrant issue.”
Exit polls said her ascendant arch-political rival – the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party – clinched 12.9 per cent of the vote, higher than the 11.5 per cent predicted earlier. The win comes a fortnight after it pushed the chancellor’s CDU conservatives into third place in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, her home state. Michael Grosse-Broemer, a senior CDU lawmaker, acknowledged the abysmal result. He said: “There is no question. We didn’t get a good result in Berlin today.”
Her conservative CDU party is predicted to come in second place, with 18 percent of the vote, behind the centre-left SPD which polled 23 percent. But that is likely to mean the SPD ditches its coalition with the CDU, to instead team up with the Green Party and the hard-left Die Linke, who both won a predicted 27 per cent of the vote. According to the predicted result, a coalition between the SPD and the CDU would only gain 66 seats, well below the 75 needed to form a majority. In total there are 149 seats up for grabs.
If the exit poll is accurate the result would be the worst election performance in history for the CDU in the Berlin state elections. While not a wipe out for Merkel’s CDU, the fact that the anti-EU, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee AfD party could score such a high percentage of the poll in multi-cultural and ‘hip’ Berlin is an indication of how far Merkel has alienated voters with her refusal to change direction on the migrant issue. The CSU’s (Christian Social Union) Bavarian finance minister Markus Soeder called the result the “second massive wake up call”. He added: “A long-term and massive loss in trust among traditional voters threatens the conservative bloc.”
WHAT IS THE AFD AND WHAT DO THEY WANT? The AfD has mobilised and anti-Islam sentiments to win opposition seats in nine out of 16 states in Germany in the past few months. Now it will sit in the parliament of the nation’s capital as it mulls its strategy to get into the national legislature in the general election due to be held in the autumn of 2017. Georg Pazderski, AfD’s leading candidate in the Berlin elections, said the result was a sign of things to come.
He said: “From zero to double digits, this is unparalleled in Berlin…”The Great Coalition has been voted out, not yet in the federal government but that will happen next year. “More than 70,000 of the 1.2 million asylum seekers welcomed into Germany by Mrs Merkel came to Berlin. Many of them are still in shelters spread out across the capital.