Merkel's CDU faces setback in regional polls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party has lost ground to leftwing parties in regional elections, according to exit polls. But Merkel is still widely expected to secure a second term in the September 27 general election.


AFP - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party on Sunday suffered a setback a month before general elections, with exit polls after two state votes indicating it will lose power there.

While Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) held onto power in the eastern state of Saxony, it appeared to lose its ruling majorities in neighbouring Thuringia and Saarland on the French border ahead of the September 27 federal poll.

But the results, largely expected, were unlikely to knock Merkel off course in her bid to win a second term, analysts said, with the CDU still enjoying around a 15-point lead ahead of the rival Social Democrats in national surveys.

Sunday's exit polls showed the CDU's share of the vote falling by more than 10 percentage points in both Thuringia and Saarland, where the state premiers are both currently from the CDU. In Saxony, the CDU's share of the vote was little changed.

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