[QODLink]
Europe
Merkel's party headed for German poll debacle
Anti-nuclear Greens likely to form coalition with Social Democrats in Baden-Wuerttemberg, preliminary results show.
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2011 22:51

 

Exit polls showed the Greens emerging victorious in the Baden-Wuerttemberg vote [EPA]

Germany's anti-nuclear Green Party has scored a remarkable state election victory, dealing a blow to the party of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, according to preliminary poll results.

The Greens won 24.2 per cent in wealthy Baden-Wuerttemberg state while the Social Democracts (SPD) finished at 23.2 per cent, meaning Greens state leader Winfried Kretschmann will lead a Greens-SPD state government.

"This is a day that has strongly changed the political landscape in Germany," Claudia Roth, the Greens party chairwoman, said in Berlin.

Losing Baden-Wuerttemberg, which lies on the French and Swiss borders and is home to car makers Daimler and Porsche, would weaken Merkel''s grip on her party and make it even harder for her to pass legislation in the upper house of parliament.

The Baden-Wuerttemberg state election has been overshadowed by anger at the Merkel''s nuclear policy, as well as decisions on Libya and the euro.

The Christian Democrats had held power there for almost six decades.

Nuclear concerns

Some in the media have attributed the Greens' lead, at least in part, to the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Merkel had planned to extend the lifetime of Germany''s nuclear reactors, four of which are based in Baden-Wuerttemberg, but the disaster in Japan prompted her to suspend this decision for three months.

She also temporarily shut off the seven oldest reactors pending a safety review.

Nick Spicer, Al Jazeera''s correspondent reporting from Stuttgart, said that the decision had not played well with voters, most of whom are opposed to nuclear power.

"People here didn't like it when she [Merkel] extended the life of those nuclear plants and then she announced, after the Japanese disaster,  a re-think, of her policy," he said.

"But most people are seeing that as political opportunism, a ploy to distract voters from her policy which the majority of Germans actually don't support."

In addition, conservative voters are critical of Berlin's abstention from a UN Security Council vote to create a no-fly zone in Libya, a break with Germany''s Western allies.

German media has also been critical of Merkel for agreeing at an EU summit on Thursday to commit to a huge new rescue fund for struggling Eurozone economies.

Merkel''s future could be clouded if the CDU loses. When Gerhard Schroeder, Merkel''s SPD predecessor as chancellor, lost North Rhine-Westphalia in 2005, he called a snap election and lost.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list