Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Berlin Vote Looks Ominous for Merkel's Party

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Berlin Vote Looks Ominous for Merkel's Party

Article excerpt

ANGELA Merkel's conserv- atives have suffered their second electoral blow in two weeks in a Berlin city vote where citizens roundly rejected her open-door refugee policy.

Support for her Christian Democrat Union slumped to its lowest level since the country reunified in 1990.

Voters turned to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which took 12.2% of the vote. It is now represented in 10 of the country's 16 state parliaments.

A year before a federal election, the result will raise pressure on Ms Merkel and deepen divisions within her conservative camp.

"There is no question. We didn't get a good result in Berlin today," said Michael Grosse-Broemer, a senior CDU lawmaker.

However, he blamed his party's Berlin losses primarily on local issues.

"I think it is dangerous to transfer the Berlin result to the federal level," he told broadcaster ZDF.

A backlash against her migrant policy has raised questions about whether Ms Merkel, Europe's most powerful leader, will stand for a fourth term next year. …

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