You are here: Home » International » News » Others
Business Standard

Blow to German Chancellor as conservatives win key state with 35.7% votes

Figures published by public broadcaster WDR forecast the Christian Democrats making small gains in the North Rhine-Westphalia state election to take 35.7 per cent of the vote

Germany | German elections | Conservative Party

AP  |  Berlin 

Olaf Scholz
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: Reuters)

Voters backed the incumbent conservative governor and dealt a blow to Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats on Sunday in Germany's most populous state, projections based on partial counts showed.

Figures published by public broadcaster WDR forecast the Christian Democrats making small gains in the North Rhine-Westphalia state election to take 35.7 per cent of the vote.

The Social Democrats slumped to 26.7 per cent, while the environmentalist Greens more than doubled their share with 18.2 per cent a record for the party in the state.

The pro-business Free Democrats saw a big drop in support and were on course to get 5.6 per cent of the vote. Its national leader, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, called it a disastrous defeat for his party.

The far-right Alternative for were also projected to take 5.6%.

The election in North Rhine-Westphalia was seen as an important test for Scholz. His government at the national level has faced a challenging start tackling the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine.

The Christian Democrats have been governing together with the Free Democrats since 2017 in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is home to almost 18 million people and includes major cities such as Cologne and Duesseldorf.

Incumbent governor Hendrik Wuest could need to enter into a pact with the Social Democrats or the Greens. An alliance between the Social Democrats, Greens and the Free Democrats mirroring the one governing at the national level was also feasible.

But Wuest insisted that, as the party with the biggest number of votes, the Christian Democrats were first in line to form a new state government.

Alongside the rising cost of living, the war in Ukraine and education, the issue of tackling the causes and effects of climate change in the state with its long history of heavy industry was considered an important election issue.

North Rhine-Westphalia was among the regions hit by a devastating flash flood last year that fueled calls to end coal mining in the state. Experts say continued burning of fossil fuels increases the likelihood of such disasters in the future.

The Christian Democrats last week won a state vote in Schleswig-Holstein, but lost power to the Social Democrats in tiny Saarland in March.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, May 16 2022. 06:59 IST