The German Chancellor’s party was relegated to third place behind an anti-immigrant party.
Merkel acknowledged her pro-refugee position has a lot to do with the CDU being overtaken in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.
However, she resisted pressure to change her policy.
“I am very dissatisfied with the outcome of the election,” she told reporters. “Obviously it has something to do with the refugee question.”
“Nevertheless, I believe the decisions made were right and we have to continue to work on them.”
“Why is Sunday’s vote significant?”
The election in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Merkel’s political fiefdom, was a humiliating defeat.
That, and another potential drubbing in two weeks in Berlin are casting an ominous shadow over the Chancellor’s hopes of winning – or even running – for a fourth term in 2017.
Analysts expect her to weather the storm.
However, the tide is turning for the chancellor – whose towering approval ratings have carried her party to victory at the polls over the last 11 years.
Support is falling and Conservatives, who feel they have a lock on power after governing the country for 47 of the last 65 years, are blaming Merkel’s pro-refugee stance for their mounting losses.
“The beginning of the end of the CDU?”
The head of the populist AFD says the Mecklenburg election result could signal the beginning of the end of the CDU.
In a statement, Frauke Petry said; “We think it is very unlikely that the CDU in the short run will find a new course, because the core of the party has been removed by Merkel. In Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, we may have seen the beginning of the end of the CDU.”
“How unpopular is Merkel?”
A recent poll suggests her approval rating has fallen from 67% to a five-year low of 45%.
Merkel’s Conservatives could win just 33%, down from 41% a year ago, according to the Infratest Dimap poll by ARD TV.
In real terms, that would cost 30 of the party’s 310 MPs their jobs in next year’s federal election.
“What they are saying”
“It is definitely a slap in the face for her and her policies. She will long be blamed for letting a party to the right of the conservatives get an established foothold. But there is no one in the party who will try to topple her. And if anyone did try, they would get their teeth knocked out,” – Thomas Jaeger, political scientist at Cologne University.
“People will see this as the start of the ‘Kanzlerdaemmerung’ (twilight of the chancellor). If a lot of CDU members start seeing this defeat as Merkel’s fault, and members of parliament start seeing her as a danger for the party and their own jobs in the next year, the whole situation could escalate out of control. If the AFD beats the CDU again in two weeks in Berlin, things could get ugly fast,” – Gero Neugebauer, political scientist at Berlin’s Free University.
Angela Merkel is facing “an autumn of discontent”, according to “Suddeutsche Zeitung” (Euronews)