Projections show that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union party just got rocked by clear defeats in two German state elections Sunday. Significantly it's being widely interpreted as a severe setback and sign of things to come just six months ahead national voting to determine who will lead the country. Though Merkel - who has been in power since 2005 - is not running, the CDU hoped to capitalize off her past four consecutive national election victories.
It appears Sunday's resounding message is the bloc's dominance is coming to a swift end. Two governors seen as further to the left are the projected winners in the southwestern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, riding a wave of popular discontent over Merkel's perceived bungling of the pandemic crisis and the government response.
SPD-led traffic light coalition (SPD-Green-FDP) just about feasible in Rheinland-Pfalz on current seats projection. In Baden-Württemberg, Green-Red coalition two seats short now, but both continuation of Green-Black or traffic light coalitions would have comfortable majorities. pic.twitter.com/EHLuWKnjXT— Leonardo Carella (@leonardocarella) March 14, 2021
As The Associated Press comments, "Amid discontent over a sluggish start to Germany's vaccination drive, with coronavirus restrictions easing only gradually and infections rising again..."
And additionally Merkel's bloc was "hit over the past two weeks by allegations that two lawmakers profited from deals to procure masks early in the coronavirus pandemic."
Based on current polling data it stands to be the CDU’s worst post-World War II defeat in both states. Here's a breakdown of the projections based on exit polls:
Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) already faced a challenging task against two popular state governors from rival parties. Exit polls for ARD and ZDF television indicated that those governors’ parties – the environmentalist Greens in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in Rhineland-Palatinate – were set to finish first, some 8 percentage points ahead of the CDU.
The Greens won 31.5 percent of the vote in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the CDU 23 percent, down from the 27 percent it polled at the last state election in 2016, according to the ZDF polls.
In neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate, the SPD came first again with 33.5 percent of the vote ahead of the CDU, which led there in opinion polls until last month but was projected to have secured only 25.5 percent support in Sunday’s election.
Christian Democratic Union general secretary, Paul Ziemiak, said as the results were being tallied, "To say it very clearly, this isn't a good election evening for the CDU." He added, "We would have liked different, better results."
"The CDU has seen its national popularity wane from 40% last June, when Germany was widely praised for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, to around 33% this month," Reuters noted in its prior analysis.
Angela Merkel‘s CDU gets dressing down at the ballot box in two regional elections.— Michaela Kuefner (@MKuefner) March 14, 2021
The previously unthinkable no longer sounds crazy:
Could the post Merkel period start without her CDU party in government?
Various German and other European media are predicting this marks the beginning of a glimpse of life after Angela Merkel.