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.