Published On: Mon, Sep 2nd, 2019

German election: Expert warns ‘Euroscepticsm mainstream in Germany’ | World | News

According to early projections, the far-right eurosceptics won 27.5 percent of the vote in Saxony and 23.5 percent in Brandenburg. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have breathed an overnight sigh of relief, Berlin’s future governments look set to be plagued by the AfD going forward. Her party remained the largest in Saxony but its share of the vote slumped by 7.4 points from the last ballot in 2014.

The results come as a bigger blow for her expected successor, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who will have to contend with a steady flow of voters moving to the far-right party.

Analysts have suggested that the AfD could soon be touted as potential coalition partners at the federal and state level.

Pieter Cleppe, of Open Europe, said: “Due to the fact that AfD did not finish first, it is now less likely that the SPD will leave Merkel’s coalition, even if it is still possible.

“The results are particularly bad, however, for Merkel’s successor as CDU leader, Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is failing to stop the outflow of voters to AFD, which is consolidating its place in German politics.

“Expect more calls for them to be taken into government coalitions, especially as the SPD and Greens seem keen to govern with the far-left at the federal-level, something that is already happening at state-level.

“This all makes euroscepticsm more mainstream in Germany.”

Carsten Nickel, analyst at Teneo Intelligence, said: “It could have been worse.

“But there is no denying that the SPD continues to die a slow death while the CDU lacks any idea for the post-Merkel world.”

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“The other parties can’t continue with business as usual.”

Amid growing concerns for the country’s economy, the result highlights the divide between eastern and western Germany 30 years after reunification.

Carsten Brzeski, the ING Bank’s chief economist in Germany, said: “With a slowing economy and inner-party tensions in both governing parties, the elections in Saxony and Brandenburg could be the famous flashpoint of political turbulence in Berlin.”

Saxony and Brandenburg are both important symbols for Mrs Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance and the SPD, highlighting their slide in popularity.

Brandenburg has been ruled by the SPD since reunification and Saxony is almost always controlled by the CDU.

The outcome of Sunday’s ballot means the two parties that govern in the eastern states are likely to be able to cling on to power.

But they will both require the support of the Greens, which increased their vote share in both states, to form a viable coalition government.

Jörg Urban, AfD’s top candidate in Saxony, said: “Whether a government made up of the CDU, SPD and Greens will really be stable is for me a big question mark.”

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