Germany’s Greens, Social Democrats win state races ahead of general elections

Berlin, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- The Greens and Social Democrats on Sunday emerged victorious in the regional elections held in the southwestern German states of Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, marking the start of an election year that will eventually see Chancellor Angela Merkel call it quits after 16 years in office.

The Greens got 31.5 percent of the vote in Baden-Wurttemberg, while the Social Democrats garnered 33.5 percent in Rhineland-Palatinate. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union obtained 23 percent and 25.6, respectively, in those two states, according to state-run ZDF TV’s projections at the close of the polling stations.

The rightist and nationalist Alternative for Germany’s share of the votes decreased to 12.5 percent and 10.5 percent in the two states, respectively.

These are the worst regional showings in both states for the CDU, with the party lacking an established leadership in the run-up to the national elections and a political grouping that has been affected by corruption allegations.

Three CDU lawmakers resigned after they allegedly earned big commissions through business deals for anti-coronavirus masks.

The victories for the Greens and Social Democrats were expected even before these corruption cases arose.

The pair of wins confirmed Winfried Kretschmann and Malu Dreyer as the leaders of the two states, respectively.

Kretschmann, who has been in office since 2011, has served in the recent term with the CDU as a junior partner, while Dreyer has led an alliance with the Greens and liberals.

The results bring pressure on the conservatives and their Christian Social Union (CSU) allies to decide on a joint candidate for the national elections, which will take place in September.

The newly-elected CDU party chief and governor of Germany’s North Rhine Westphalia state, Armin Laschet, along with Bavarian state premier and leader of CSU party Markus Soder have emerged as the two likely contenders for the CDU-CSU ticket in the upcoming national vote. EFE-EPA

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