- Title: AfD successes in state elections pile pressure on German government
- Date: 2nd September 2019
- Summary: VARIOUS OF NEWSPAPER HEADLINES
- 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: LVA002AUYS30N
- 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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