Merkel: Governor's election with far-right help inexcusable

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb....
AfD parliamentary party leader Bjoern Hoecke, right, shakes hands with Thomas Kemmerich of the Free Democrats, in Erfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 5, ...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb....

AfD parliamentary party leader Bjoern Hoecke, right, shakes hands with Thomas Kemmerich of the Free Democrats, in Erfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 5, ...

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned as “inexcusable” the election of a new German state governor with the help of the far-right as well as her own party, and said Thursday that the result must not stand.

Wednesday's surprise election of Thomas Kemmerich, a member of the small pro-business Free Democrats, as governor of the eastern state of Thuringia has turned into a major embarrassment for Germany's mainstream center-right parties and revived questions about the future of the country's governing coalition.

Kemmerich narrowly defeated a left-wing incumbent after the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, voted for him instead of its own candidate in the state legislature. Left-leaning parties and many in the center-right camp said that accepting votes from AfD broke a taboo and was unacceptable. Kemmerich was holding out Thursday against mounting pressure to resign.

Leaders of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union called for a new election in Thuringia. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel as party leader in 2018, said local CDU lawmakers disobeyed instructions from the national leadership in voting for Kemmerich.

Merkel vented her displeasure at a news conference during a visit to South Africa.