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State elections in Germany: The Greens and the Social Democrats make progress while CDU suffers heavy losses

State elections in Germany: The Greens and the Social Democrats make progress while CDU suffers heavy losses

State elections were held in two regions in Germany - Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg

This Sunday, 14 March 2021, two federal states in Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, elected their new state parliaments. Аccording to preliminary data, the ruling Greens in Baden-Württemberg and the Social Democrats in Rhineland-Palatinate prevailed this year’s elections, while Merkel’s party suffered major losses.

In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens, led by Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann, won the state elections with 32.6 percent. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Social Democrats led by Prime Minister Malu Dreyer remain the strongest political force, reaching 36 percent.

A setback for the Christian Democratic Union

The elections are the first opportunity for the parties to feel the mood of the Germans before the general elections in September. The results are not satisfactory for Germany’s ruling party – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which in both regions took second place trailing way behind the first parties. The declining results are seen as a reaction to the crisis management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the new CDU leader Armin Laschet, this is a huge setback, as he makes plans to replace Merkel in September. As he is growing increasingly unpopular in the country, his opponent, the Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder, is already being proposed by the conservatives as a replacement.

What coalitions will be formed in the two regions?

Due to the large number of mail votes, it was more difficult than usual to make a precise prediction for these elections.

According to initial projections, Kretschmann could both continue the green-black coalition, which has been in office since 2016 and enter into a traffic light alliance with the SPD and FDP. Kretschmann did not reveal a preference on election night.

Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) wants to continue the coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens. The FDP and Greens have also already expressed interest in continuing the so-called 'traffic light coalition' (an allusion to the party colours).

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