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Merkel's party suffers new setback in state election

(Xinhua)

13:14, September 05, 2011

BERLIN, Sep. 4 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party is losing support in a poor northeastern state, while the main opposition kept the upper hand of choosing its coalition partners, exit polls showed following a regional election on Sunday.

The election, taking place in the lowly populated coastal state of Mecklenburg West Pomerania, enhanced the leading position of current senior party in the regional coalition, the Social Democrats (SPD), while its junior coalition partner, Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), suffered a slide in support and could no longer take the fate into its own hands.

According to exit polls released by German public television ARD, the SPD became the biggest winner with some 37 percent of the vote, well above its last support of 30.2 percent in last state election in 2006. The SPD has been ruling the state government since 1998.

However, Merkel's CDU suffered a considerable decline, from 28.8 percent five years ago to 24 percent this time, losing some territory to the third strongest party, the Linke, which occupied 17 percent and was qualified to join the state coalition.

Now it is the Social Democrats that can decide which party would forge a coalition with them. Cooperation with the CDU is highly possible, but the Linke is also an option.

The Green party, which saw a surging since Japan's nuclear disasters, also made a big step. After scoring 8.5 percent and jumping over the threshold of 5 percent, the party would enter the state parliament for the first time, which means that the pro-environment party will have seats in all 16 states.

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