Angela Merkel Admits Immigration Policy Hurt Party in Elections

Steve Visser and Elizabeth Roberts, CNN, September 5, 2016

Could the success of a far-right party in Germany’s local elections be a harbinger of things to come?

The Sunday contest was viewed by many as a referendum on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy, and her party suffered a significant defeat on her home turf.

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Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD, defeated the Christian Democratic Union–Merkel’s party–in local elections in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, coming in second behind the Social Democratic Party, according to exit polls.

AfD was only formally founded in April 2013, yet it defeated the CDU in the German chancellor’s home state.

Although AfD has performed strongly in several other regional elections, most notably coming in second with 24% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt in March, it’s an unprecedented moment in modern German politics that the CDU is set to finish behind a party so far to its right on most issues.

The preliminary results indicate the Social Democratic Party won 30.6%, Alternative für Deutschland took 20.8% and the Christian Democratic Union got 19%.

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Responding to the preliminary results from the weekend vote, Merkel–who is in China at the G20 summit–told reporters she was “dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections.”

She admitted that “many people do not have our confidence regarding the refugee question.”

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Monday the Chancellor insisted the decisions made on how to handle the refugee crises were correct, but acknowledged: “We still have to do a lot to regain our (party’s) confidence.”

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