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German Poll Deals Major Blow to Merkel’s Party

RIA Novosti

18:42 14/05/2012 BERLIN, May 14 (RIA Novosti) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called her party’s election defeat in the country’s most populous state "a bitter day" as Christian Democratic Union (CDU) garnered the lowest vote since WWII in parliamentary elections on Sunday.

On Sunday, in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), which has a population of about 18 million people, Merkel’s CDU received only 26.3 percent of the vote, a steep decline from 35 percent in 2010 and 45 percent in 2005.

“This is our general defeat,” Merkel said. Observers agreed, calling the result "a historic defeat" for Merkel’s party.

The election, which was held some 18 months before the federal elections, was dominated by the opposition Social Democrats and Greens, which garnered 39.1 percent and 11.3 percent respectively. Together the parties secured enough votes to form a governing coalition.

Election results in the North Rhine-Westphalia, which alone has a larger population than the Netherlands, could undermine Merkel’s quest for a third chancellorship next year.

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