- Title: Setback for German coalition as far right surges in regional elections
- Date: 1st September 2019
- Summary: DRESDEN, GERMANY (SEPTEMBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** AFD CO LEADER JOERG MEUTHEN AND SAXONY TOP CANDIDATE JOERG URBAN AND AFD MEMBER BEATRIX VON STORCH WAITING FOR RESULTS / CHEERING / CLOSE OF URBAN CLAPPING AND CHEERING / MEUTHEN AND URBAN HUGGING VARIOUS OF MEUTHEN AFD SUPPORTERS WATCHING (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD SAXONY TOP CANDIDATE JOERG URBAN, SAYING: "Dear friends, today is a historical day! Our young party, we have only been around for 6 years, has firmly shaken the high castle of the CDU in Saxony. We have seen the biggest increases of all the parties. This evening, the AfD has won the election." SUPPORTERS CLAPPING AND SHOUTING AFD BLUE BOARD WITH AFD LOGO MEUTHEN BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD CO LEADER JOERG MEUTHEN, SAYING: "It isn't just good it is excellent. We are the biggest victors of this election in both states. We have doubled our presence in Brandenburg or more if I understand correctly. And here we have trebled our results. You can't really imagine any more success in an election for a party that is just 6 years old. For us this a wonderful evening and I think that this is the day that it becomes clear to absolutely everybody that the AfD isn't just a party on its way but has firmly established itself as a people's party in Germany." VARIOUS OF AFD CO-LEADER ALICE WEIDEL TALKING AFD SUPPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD CO-LEADER ALICE WEIDEL, SAYING: "This sends a very strong signal. It is not just that the government parties - CDU/SPD have experienced defeats in Brandenburg and Saxony, historic defeats in fact, historic lows, but this will now force a questioning of the coalition in Berlin. I can imagine that the CDU and the SPD supporters will now start applying pressure to end the coalition." YOUNG CDU SUPPORTERS WAITING FOR THE SAXONY ELECTION RESULTS, WEARING TEAM KRETSCHMER T-SHIRTS SUPPORTER'S NERVOUS HANDS CLAPPING AND CHEERING AS RESULTS COME IN CDU SUPPORTERS REACTING TO OTHER RESULTS KURT BIEDENKOPF OF THE CDU, SAXONY'S FIRST STATE PREMIER AFTER GERMAN REUNIFICIATION IN 1990, SEATED AMONG CDU SUPPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) CDU SUPPORTER, CORNELIA BLATTNER, SAYING: "We are happy with the result. They said it would be 30 plus and we are really proud of this. Our premier is called Michael Kretschmer and we super happy. He went up and down the state and we are really happy, it is a great result that we can really celebrate." (SOUNDBITE) (German) CDU SUPPORTER KLAUS KLOETZEN, SAYING: "I think we can be happy with the results. Each one percent more would have, of course, been better. I have been a CDU member for 30 years and it isn't going to be easy to get the CDU position back out to the people, but I think it honours what has been achieved here in the last years." SUPPORTERS CDU TOP CANDIDATE MICHAEL KRETSCHMER COMING ONTO STAGE TO APPLAUSE KRETSCHMER ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (German) CDU TOP CANDIDATE MICHAEL KRETSCHMER, SAYING: "We did it! And this is a message that we send from Saxony! A large majority of people want to represent this state in a positive way and want to achieve things. The friendly side of Saxony has won! Many thanks to all of you!" KRETSCHMER ON STAGE TO APPLAUSE SUPPORTERS TAKING PHOTOS KRETSCHMER WAVING SCREEN OF RESULTS AT GREEN PARTY CENTRE / PAN TO GREEN CANDIDATES KATJA MEIER AND WOLFRAM GUENTHER CLAPPING AND HUGGING GREEN SUPPORTERS CLAPPING MEIER CLAPPING PAN TO GUENTHER CLAPPING MEIER AND GUENTHER CLAPPING GREEN PARTY SIGN READING: HEARTS OPEN, FEAR GONE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GREEN CANDIDATES KATJA MEIER AND WOLFRAM GUENTHER, WALKING TOGETHER UNDER UMBRELLA, SAYING: GUENTHER: "We nearly doubled our figure. This is a historic and best result for the Saxony Greens. The election campaign paid off, our topics matter here and the people have given us a huge amount of their trust and we now need to see what we can do with it. Thank you!" GREENS DRIVING AWAY IN RAIN VARIOUS OF SPD TOP CANDIDATE MARTIN DULIG TALKING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (German) TOP CANDIDATE MARTIN DULIG, SAYING: "It was clearly felt during this election that the polarisation between the governing parties and the AfD led to a voter migration to those parties that wanted a stable political situation. That is the good news of today. Of course it is sad for Saxony that this happened on the back of the SPD. I am going to stick with it though. And I am going to go confidently into the coming weeks because we can't just look at today but how things will go from here. So, it is ok to take a moment to be sad about today but then upwards and onwards." DULIG'S HANDS DULIG TALKING TO MEDIA
- Embargoed: 15th September 2019 18:20
- Keywords: Germany election Brandenburg Saxony AfD Angela Merkel coalition
- Location: DRESDEN, GERMANY
- City: DRESDEN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001AUTRGAV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners bled support to the far right in two state elections in eastern Germany on Sunday, dealing a double blow to her already unstable ruling alliance.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) remained the largest party in Saxony, but saw their share of the vote drop by 7.4 points from the last election in 2014 to 32%, with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) coming second, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD showed.
The AfD harnessed voter anger over refugees and the planned closure of coal mines in the formerly communist eastern states, casting themselves as the heirs of the demonstrators who brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall three decades ago giving the AfD 27.8 percent up from 18 percent in 2014.
The setbacks for the ruling parties were not as major as feared but could still hasten the break-up of the national coalition led by Merkel, who has loomed large on the European stage since 2005 and whose early departure would further unsettle a European Union already unnerved by Brexit.
Confident AfD leaders said the Saxony and Brandenburg results showed beyond a doubt that the AfD has become a people's party and is here to stay.
Germany's Greens also benefited from voter apathy towards the grand coalition and their climate strong message gaining nearly 3 percent from the last elections.
A coalition breakdown could trigger a snap federal election before 2021, an unappealing option for the SPD given that national polls have put Merkel's conservatives first, with the Greens close behind and the SPD trailing on a par with the AfD.
Another option would be a conservative minority government, anathema to stability-loving Germans.
Saxony voter turnout was almost double that of the last elections in 2014.
(Production: Tanya Wood / Ayhan Uyanik / Stefan Nitschke / Andy Buerger / Petra Wischgoll / Christine Soukenka)
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