Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Merkel Defeat

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is facing defeat today in a critical federal state election, as the polls closed in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany.

Exit polls indicate a victory for the “red-green” alliance of Social Democrats and Greens over Ms Merkel’s “black-yellow” coalition of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats. The result, if confirmed, would give the red-green combination just enough seats to form a stable government, according to the poll on the ZDF television channel, reports FT.

Merkel's support of the Greek bailout appears to have played a significant role. More from FT:

The poll is seen as a mini-general election in Germany, and the first chance for voters to pass judgment since Ms Merkel won a clear victory for her coalition in Berlin last September.

Public controversy over Germany’s participation in a massive €22.4bn loan to Greece – approved by the government only days before the poll – seems to have hit support for the “black-yellow” alliance, which currently forms the government in Düsseldorf, the NRW state capital, as well as Berlin. Otherwise the campaign was dominated by local issues such as education.

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