Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has doubled its share of votes in Sunday’s regional elections in the federal states of Saxony and Brandenburg, emerging as the second largest party in the state parliaments.
Projections by public broadcaster ARD showed that the AfD was set to score a record 27.3% of votes in Saxony, up from 9.7% in the last election in 2014.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) could manage to win 32%, down 7.4 points from the last election
The electoral loss is likely to complicate the CDU’s ability to lead a coalition government in the eastern province.
The CDU’s coalition partner Social Democrats (SPD) secured only 7.9%, historically the worst result for the party in a federal state election.
In Brandenburg, another former East German state where citizens went to polls on Sunday, the far-right AfD managed to win 22.8%, a significant increase from the 12.2% from the last 2014 election.
The Social Democrats were projected to win 27.2%, down from 31.9%, they had secured in the last election.
Merkel’s CDU suffered its biggest defeat in Brandenburg in decades, as exit polls showed the Conservatives with 15.4%, down from 23% it had netted in 2014.
Both are East German provinces. While Brandenburg encircling Berlin, Saxony contains the two largest and most important cities in eastern Germany Leipzig and Dresden.
By Ayhan Simsek in Berlin