After Germany’s far-right scandal, Left party surges as Merkel’s CDU sinks
A new poll carried out in the wake of a far-right scandal in Germany’s eastern state of Thuringia has shown impressive gains for the Left party and a significant tumble in support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in the state, according to a poll by infratest dimap, commissioned by public broadcaster MDR.
The CDU in Thuringia have been accused of colluding with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to get a conservative candidate elected state premier, despite the fact that his party — the business-liberal Free Democrats (FDP) — barely cleared the 5% hurdle to get into Thuringia’s state parliament in a regional vote last October.
Support for the Left party surged to 39%, a full eight points ahead of its October results. The CDU sunk by about the same amount, going from 21.7% to 13%. The free-market FDP, whose candidate for state premier, Thomas Kemmerich, was at the center of the scandal, fell to only 4%, meaning they would not be allowed any seats in parliament if a vote were held today.
Perhaps most surprisingly, however, is that despite the outcry, support for the AfD improved slightly from 23.4 to 24%.
Merkel rails against regional CDU
Last week, Germany was rattled when the FDP’s Thomas Kemmerich beat incumbent Left party premier Bodo Ramelow by a single vote from regional lawmakers. It later emerged, according to many in CDU circles, that the CDU, FDP, and AfD in Thuringia had tacitly agreed to the upset the day before the vote.
Kemmerich has since stepped down, and it remains unclear when and if Thuringia will have a fresh state election.
Chancellor Merkel immediately castigated the state CDU for “abandoning party values” and fired her commissioner for the former communist eastern states, who was also the deputy head of the party in Thuringia.
The scandal also finished off the career of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, hailed as Merkel’s hand-picked successor. Kramp-Karrenbauer stepped down as leader of the CDU and announced she will not run for chancellor in Germany’s federal elections set for next year.
es/ng (AFP, dpa)