Populist surge in Berlin vote piles pressure on Merkel

With one year to go until an expected general election, Merkel's conservatives were licking their wounds after being turfed out of the left-right coalition government in the capital, Germany's biggest city.

Populist surge in Berlin vote piles pressure on Merkel

World Bulletin / News Desk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party was reeling Monday after another stinging poll loss, as an upstart populist party poached votes in a Berlin state election by railing against her liberal refugee policy.

It was the fifth regional poll in a row showing losses for the Christian Democrats (CDU) that Merkel will have to answer for, as voter angst over the arrival of one million refugees and migrants last year shakes her once firm standing with the electorate.

Markus Soeder, a vocal critic from her conservative bloc, called the vote a "massive wake-up call" for her to impose strict limits on migration.

"The Christian Union risks a lasting and giant loss of trust among its core voters," the Bavaria state finance minister told Bild daily.

Analysts said the drubbing would force Merkel, widely seen as Europe's most influential leader, to focus on German affairs at a time when the EU is facing sluggish economic growth, growing divisions over its migration policy and Britain's impending exit.

The Berlin vote continued a trend of a fracturing of the electorate and surging support for fringe parties, with both the far left and the right wing the winners of the day.

It also mirrored the march of anti-migrant parties in France, Austria and the Netherlands and Republican maverick Donald Trump in the United States.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Eylül 2016, 12:50