Merkel's Party Loses Big in Stronghold

Conservatives lose Baden-Wuerttemberg first time in 58 years
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 3:43 AM CDT
Merkel's Party Loses Big in Stronghold
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democratic Party suffered heavy losses in yesterday's state elections in Germany.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Japan's nuclear disaster is not just an environmental tragedy—it has started claiming political victims. Germany's Green Party appears poised to win a state government for the first time, trouncing Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in their stronghold in southwest Germany. The Greens and Social Democrats won 47.3% in Baden-Wuerttemberg , according to early results, defeating the Christian Democrats (CDU), who have held the state for 58 years. "This is a historic victory," said the Greens leader in the state. "We will change things."

"The horrible events in Japan were the main issue over the last two weeks," said defeated state premier Stefan Mappus. "There was no other campaign topic, and the winds from Berlin were also blowing against us." The defeat is just the latest in a string for the Christian Democrats, who lost Hamburg in a state election last month, and North Rhine-Westphalia last May. "This is the beginning of the end for Merkel," said a banker in Stuttgart. "I've been a CDU party member for more than 30 years but I didn't vote CDU this time." For the full story, click on the Reuters link. (More Germany stories.)

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