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Heavy setback for Camp Merkel in two regional tests

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The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is heading towards its worst electoral score in the regional states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, in southwestern Germany, according to projections by ARD and ZDF channels.

In Baden-Württemberg, the CDU won only 23.3% of the vote against 27% five years ago, while in Rhineland-Palatinate it reached around 26%, against 31.8% in 2016. “Dark hour “For the CDU, commented the daily The world while the weekly The mirror referred to an “electoral debacle”.

Read also: CDU elects Armin Laschet as president

Bad omen

If the conservatives did not start favorites in these two Länder led respectively by the Greens and the Social Democrats of the SPD, they are accusing a bad omen for the legislative elections of 26 September. The revelations cascading since the end of February around the so-called “mask affair”, and growing criticism of the management of the health crisis have weakened the Chancellor’s party.

The CDU is going through “its most serious crisis” since the slush fund scandal which precipitated the fall of Helmut Kohl in the late 1990s, say many commentators. This time, it is in particular suspicion of commissions received by deputies in contracts for the purchase of masks, at the start of the epidemic, which tarnishes the image of the majority.

Also read: “Angela Merkel’s succession is totally unstable”

Greens and SPD in the lead

This scandal, admitted Sunday evening the secretary general of the CDU Paul Ziemiak, “heavily impacted” the result of these polls. The official promised “zero tolerance” in the face of the embezzlement of those “who get richer during the (health) crisis”.

The Greens, who are aiming for entry into the federal government at the end of the legislative elections, on the contrary welcomed a “super start” of the electoral sequence marked by their large victory in Baden-Württemberg, a Land they lead. for a decade.

In this prosperous region, the heart of the automotive industry, the popular Winfried Kretschmann, 72, improves his score. The coalition with the CDU, which he has led for five years, is sometimes seen as the laboratory for a possible national alliance between these two parties, following the federal elections.

Credited with a large victory (around 31%), the Greens have free rein to negotiate their new alliance, again with the CDU or with the Social Democrats, or even the Liberals (FDP, around 11%) in a formula to three parties.

In the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate, the CDU comes far behind the outgoing leader, Malu Dreyer, patron of the regional SPD (around 33-35%). The far right of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) suffered a decline of 3.3 points to 4.2 points in the two Länder.

Declining voting intentions

After 16 years in power, Angela Merkel could hope to leave a party moving confidently towards the elections, but the CDU and its Bavarian ally CSU have recently fallen to 30% to 33% of voting intentions, their pre-pandemic level.

Two deputies, Georg Nüsslein (CSU) and Nikolas Löbel (CDU), had to leave their respective parties, suspected of having enriched themselves thanks to the epidemic by serving as intermediaries with manufacturers in the purchase of anti-face masks. -Covid by the authorities. Another conservative MP resigned from his mandate on Thursday after being accused of Azerbaijani advertising inserts in a regional newspaper he runs.

This defeat also weighs on the ambitions of Armin Laschet, newly elected at the head of the CDU, who must convince his people that he will be the best conservative candidate for the chancellery. Bavaria boss Markus Söder (CSU) is ahead in the polls.

Tired of restrictions

The “mask affair” is going all the more badly as millions of Germans, a year after the start of the pandemic, are weary of the restrictions and seem to doubt the government’s strategy.

The difficulties in the supply of vaccines against the Covid-19 have only accentuated the discontent, against the backdrop of a rise in contamination in recent days. The health authorities no longer hide their concern at the “start of a third wave”.

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