Angela Merkel, who will not be campaigning in the September elections, suffered two clear defeats in state elections which are often seen as an indicator for political success for the bigger federal elections. In the southern Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate states, the CDU lost to the Greens and Social Democrats (SPD) respectively. It comes as the German Government has been criticised for the handling of the pandemic and with Merkel’s successor Armin Laschet dividing opinion among the public and within his political party.
In Baden-Wuerttemberg, exit polls put the Greens at 37.2 percent with the CDU at 24 percent.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the SPD led with 36.1 percent with the CDU getting 27.1 percent of the vote.
Al Jazeera journalist Dominic Kane spoke to political scientist Konstantin Voessing about the ramifications of the local elections.
Mr Voessing said: “It is not just about the states it is about the feeling [the whole country has] that stands for something.
“It gives us a good glimpse into the state of affairs of the German electorate.”
CDU General Secretary commented on the fall in support and frustration towards Merkel and her party.
He said: “We see that the population is growing dissatisfied and also lacking understanding about the coronavirus management.
“People’s impatience is growing which I can understand personally.
The popularity of the CDU has fallen in light of the German Government’s mishandling of the pandemic and a PPE procurement scandal.
In June 2020, the CDU had a 40 percent popularity which has now fallen to 33 percent in March.
In Germany, elections are carried out typically every four years with the electorate given two votes.
One vote for a local representative using a plurality system similar to First Past the Post and another for a party using a list system.
The Bundestag has 598 seats which are split equally between the first and second vote.