- Title: Far-right AFD comes in second after ruling SPD in Brandenburg
- Date: 1st September 2019
- Summary: WERDER, GERMANY SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** AFD SUPPORTERS CHEERING AS EXIT POLLS FOR BRANDENBURG ARE ANNOUNCED ON LARGE TV SCREEN AFD TOP CANDIDATE ANDREAS KALBITZ BEING CHEERED (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD TOP CANDIDATE FOR BRANDENBURG, ANDREAS KALBITZ, SAYING: "It's not Kalbitz, it's the AFD. I thank you for having achieved this result together. It's better than what I had hoped for. 20% plus X was what we aimed for. Yes, I would have hoped that as the icing on the cake we would become the strongest party but this result, this exit poll shows one thing: the AfD has come to stay. Politics without us will no longer be possible." KALBITZ BEING CHEERED (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD TOP CANDIDATE FOR BRANDENBURG, ANDREAS KALBITZ, SAYING: "We have done an excellent job and we have every reason to celebrate tonight and from tomorrow, we will be working hard, even harder. Thank you." AFD SUPPORTERS CHANTING "AFD! AFD!" AFD LEADER IN THURINGIA, BJOERN HOECKE, IN DISCUSSION AFD SUPPORTERS WATCHING TV (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD LEADER IN THURINGIA, BJOERN HOECKE, SAYING: "We are the new young people's party of the East and we want to become the new people's party for all of Germany." AFD SUPPORTERS WATCHING TV (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD LEADER IN THURINGIA, BJOERN HOECKE, SAYING: "The Chancellor and the Merkel era is definitely coming to an end today. The Merkel era tore Germany apart, it tore it apart in all relevant political sectors: the immigration policy, the euro zone rescue policy, the energy transition. Fundamental mistakes were made which did a lot of harm to Germany." AFD SUPPORTERS, AMONG THEM A WOMAN WEARING A RIBBON IN THE GERMAN NATIONAL COLOURS, STANDING TOGETHER AS WHISTLES AND SHOUTS ARE HEARD FROM ANTI-AFD PROTESTERS VARIOUS OF ANTI-AFD PROTESTERS PLACARD IN GERMAN READING "THOSE WHO VOTE FOR AFD SUPPORT NAZIS" AND "ABOUT 80% DID NOT VOTE FOR YOU!" BANNER IN GERMAN READING "BRANDENBURG FOR EVERYONE / REFUGEES WELCOME!" PROTESTERS BEHIND CRASH BARRIERS POTSDAM, GERMANY SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 (REUTERS) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND FINANCE MINISTER OLAF SCHOLZ OF THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS (SPD) WAITING FOR EXIT POLLS AT 6 P.M. (1600 GMT) WITH OTHER SPD SUPPORTERS BEFORE THEY CHEER AS BRANDENBURG'S 27.5% ARE ANNOUNCED SPD SUPPORTERS HEARD CHEERING AS SPD INCUMBENT STATE PREMIER DIETMAR WOIDKE WALKS ONTO STAGE, SLOGAN IN GERMAN READING "ONE BRANDENBURG / SPD" APPLAUDING SPD SUPPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) INCUMBENT BRANDENBURG STATE PREMIER OF THE SPD, DIETMAR WOIDKE, SAYING: "It was a tough election campaign. It was an intensive discussion and I would like to thank all of you that we succeeded in showing that this state has one party which people trust and that remains Brandenburg's SPD. This is tonight's message." CAMERA CREWS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND FINANCE MINISTER OF THE SPD, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING: "Still, work remains to be done because obviously, no one can be content with the AfD's result. So everything in the coming years will be focused on making sure that they get weaker again." SPD SUPPORTERS LOOKING ON
- Embargoed: 15th September 2019 17:49
- Keywords: Germany election Brandenburg Saxony AfD Angela Merkel coalition
- Location: WERDER & POTSDAM, GERMANY
- City: WERDER & POTSDAM, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001AUTREPZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners held off a surge in far right support in two state elections in eastern Germany on Sunday, averting an immediate crisis for the ruling alliance.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) remained the largest party in Saxony but saw their vote share drop by 7.4 points from the last election in 2014 to 32%, with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) coming second, preliminary results showed.
The AfD harnessed voter anger over refugees and the planned closure of coal mines in the formerly communist eastern states, casting itself as the heir of the demonstrators who brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall three decades ago.
In Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, the left-leaning SPD clung on to first place in a state they have run since German reunification in 1990, winning 27.2% of the vote - ahead of the AfD on 22.8%, preliminary results showed.
The ruling parties' setbacks were not as major as feared and the results alleviate some pressure on the national coalition led by Merkel, who has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, and could reassure a European Union unnerved by Brexit.
Much depends on the SPD, which rules with the radical Left party in Brandenburg. The party sank into turmoil after its worst performance in European elections in May, is polling close to record lows and is still searching for a leader.
Many SPD rank-and-file members want to quit a ruling national alliance that has supported Merkel for 10 of her 14 years in power and rebuild in opposition.
Voters went to the polls in Brandenburg and Saxony against the backdrop of a growing risk of recession in Germany - a threat that is raising tensions between the CDU and SPD as they argue over whether to shift to a more expansive fiscal policy.
Social Democrats, who control the finance ministry, want to abandon the government's so-called "black zero" balanced budget policy and raise investment but Merkel's conservatives say it is an "indispensable principle" for them.
A coalition collapse could trigger a snap election or result in a minority government - unappealing options for stability-loving Germans. National polls put the conservatives first ahead of the Greens, with the SPD trailing neck and neck with the AfD.
Heavy losses in state votes last year led Merkel, brought up in East Germany, to quit as CDU leader and announce this would be her last term as chancellor.
(Production: Leon Malherbe, Fanny Broderson, Martin Schlicht, Zoltan Bertha, Susanne Neumayer, Michele Sani)
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