Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Merkel's party wins Hamburg election, but faces tough effort to form coalition

Merkel's party wins Hamburg election, but faces tough effort to form coalition

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives won in a state election in Hamburg on Sunday, but were set to lose their parliamentary majority, setting the stage for a complicated effort to form a coalition, according to projections.
The election also brought an indifferent result for the center-left Social Democrats, the struggling partner in Merkel's increasingly bad-tempered national "grand coalition," and more success for the new Left party.
The outcome left Merkel's Christian Democratic Union eyeing an alliance with the Greens _ never tried at state level, and a combination that could expand Merkel's future options _ or another "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats. CDU Mayor Ole von Beust said he would talk to both.
If the Greens make concessions, "Ole von Beust has the unique possibility of forming the first black-green state government," CDU general secretary Ronald Pofalla said on ZDF television, referring to the parties' colors.
In a vote that gave Germany's major parties their third test in a month, the Social Democrats remained far behind the CDU in a city-state they once dominated, according to projections based on exit polls and partial results for the ARD and ZDF channels.
That followed recent speculation over whether they will abandon their refusal to deal with the new Left party, a fusion of East German ex-communists and western opponents of economic reform, which underlined its growing strength by entering Hamburg's state parliament.
Four years ago, the popular von Beust won 47.2 percent of the vote and an absolute majority, helped by an unpopular center-left government in Berlin.
Sunday's projections had the CDU winning up to 42.8 percent of the vote, with up to 34.1 percent for the Social Democrats, or SPD.
The Greens were set to win as much as 9.9 percent and The Left 6.6 percent. Hamburg will be the fourth western state parliament with Left party lawmakers, following successes in two elections last month.
"What we have achieved in recent weeks is a terrific victory," senior party official Dietmar Bartsch said. "This shows that The Left is growing."
Projections said that the pro-business Free Democrats, von Beust's preferred coalition partner, might narrowly miss the 5 percent of the vote needed to win parliamentary seats and would anyway be too weak to join a coalition.
With neither traditional center-left nor center-right coalitions emerging, efforts to form a new state government could be complicated.
A CDU-Green coalition could help expand Merkel's options after next year's federal election. Both the CDU and SPD hope to end the national "grand coalition" then.
The Greens, who traditionally have partnered the SPD and have strongly left-leaning grass roots, were coy.
"To talk about any combination at this point in time is fairly absurd," party chairman Reinhard Buetikofer said.
Von Beust's SPD challenger, Michael Naumann, had hoped to form a coalition with the Greens. He ruled out trying to add The Left to that combination, or to seek its support for a minority government.
"The Hamburg SPD will neither form a coalition with the Left party, nor negotiate with it or accept its toleration," he said.
Before the election, the CDU attacked the SPD over reports that its candidate in the western state of Hesse, where the big parties fought each other to a stalemate last month, may try to form a minority government and then win election as governor by accepting votes from The Left.
SPD leader Kurt Beck conceded that the discussion had led to "irritation," but insisted it did not have a "noticeable effect" in Hamburg.


Updated : 2021-10-27 06:42 GMT+08:00