- Title: AfD successes in state elections pile pressure on German government
- Date: 2nd September 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, JOERG FAHRENBRUCH, SAYING: "I am happy that the AfD did not become the strongest party but I'm very unhappy that people don't understand how serious the situation is, with environment issues and so on. It angers me that people don't understand why the AfD gets support and that they only scold it. But I would say we walked away with a bruising. It's not nice but it could have been worse." BERLIN, GERMANY (SEPTEMBER 2, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CDU HEADQUARTERS CAMERA CREWS VARIOUS OF CDU TOP CANDIDATE IN SAXONY, MICHAEL KRETSCHMER, ARRIVING FOR ROUTINE MONDAY MORNING BOARD MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (German) CDU TOP CANDIDATE IN SAXONY, STATE PREMIER MICHAEL KRETSCHMER, SAYING: "We don't renounce any votes. I have always said that I am the state premier of all Saxons but I won't go along with anything. This means that in the last 20 months we conducted many, many discussions. We directly reached out to a lot of people. We have this phenomenon which was written about at length: there is the internet and a filter with an increasingly powerful opinion power. The only cure against it is direct discussions. So: go speak to people and address issues which hurt." RED CDU LOGO BEHIND WINDOW DRESDEN, GERMANY (SEPTEMBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF OVERNIGHT ANTI-AFD PROTEST WITH BANNER IN GERMAN READING "AGAINST A SHIFT TO THE RIGHT" OUTSIDE STATE PARLIAMENT POLICE AND SECURITY OUTSIDE BUILDING
- Embargoed: 16th September 2019 11:01
- Keywords: Saxony and Brandenburg state elections AfD CDU SPD Michael Kretschmer Alexander Gauland
- Location: BERLIN & DRESDEN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN & DRESDEN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003AUYS30N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:An emboldened far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) warned Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition partners they could not carry on as before after luring many of their voters to come second in two regional elections in eastern Germany on Sunday.
The party almost tripled its share of the vote in Saxony to 27.5% and saw its support double in neighbouring Brandenburg, a major feat for a party set up only six years ago to oppose euro zone bailouts.
They believe their gains can destabilise the national coalition of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD).
"We are now even stronger as an opposition force and at the same time we are up against ruling coalitions who are looking increasingly fragile," AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen told reporters in Berlin on Monday.
The AfD's success will certainly make coalition building difficult for the CDU conservatives in Saxony, which they have governed for almost three decades, and for the SPD in Brandenburg where the centre-left party has ruled since 1990.
There was still relief within the two ruling parties, given that a few months ago polls showed the AfD could become the strongest party in one or both of the two East German states.
The AfD has drawn on voters' discontent with Merkel's coalition and especially on her 2015 decision to let in refugees, many from war zones in the Middle East and Africa.
"The only cure against (the AfD) is direct discussions," said Saxony state premier Michael Kretschmer of the CDU who urged fellow party members to "go speak to people and address issues which hurt."
(Production: Andreas Buerger, Stephane Nitschke, Leon Malherbe, Oliver Ellrodt, Tanya Wood)
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