State vote weakens Germany's Merkel

Exit polls indicate Chrisitan Democrat party risks losing seats.

    Two out of the three states voting look set to reject their Christian Democrat premiers [AFP]

    In elections in 2002 and 2005 that healthy lead fell away sharply.

    If the popularity of the CDU is weakened, Merkel may be pushed into forming a coalition with the SPD, jeopardising her plans to push through tax cuts and legislation to extend the life of the country's nuclear power plants.

    Her preferred option is to form a coalition government with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

    An opinion survey carried out over the weekend indicated that 87 per cent of Germans expect Merkel to win a second term as chancellor.

    In a third regional vote in the eastern state of Saxony, Merkel's party is expected to retain power.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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