Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party came out the winner in a local election in eastern Germany on Sunday, giving a hopeful boost to the party ahead of September’s national elections, the Associated Press reports.
The state of play: Exit polls from Sunday indicate that Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union garnered about 36% of the vote, while the far-right Alternative for Germany brought in 22%, per AP.
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“The center-left Social Democrats also fared worse than five years ago and were expected to get about 8.4%, while the environmentalist Greens made modest gains to take 6.2%,” the wire service said.
Why it matters: All eyes were on this election to see how the AfD would fare in one of its traditional strongholds, per the New York Times.
Sunday’s exit polls indicated that the AfD, which has come under “increased scrutiny from Germany’s domestic intelligence service for its ties to extremist groups,” did slightly worse than in 2016, reports AP.
Of note: The CDU’s success on Sunday is also a boon to the party’s new leader Armin Laschet, who hopes to succeed Merkel in September, according to Reuters.
What they’re saying: “We have won the election,” said Saxony-Anhalt state premier Reiner Haseloff of the CDU, per Reuters. “A great majority of our citizens have said we don’t want to be associated with the AfD. And for that I’m grateful.”
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