The current premier of the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, has been re-elected as leader. He will head a coalition that is the only one ever of its kind at a state level in Germany.
The state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt chose Haseloff in a second round of voting on Monday, after a first round saw him fail to receive the 44 votes needed for an absolute majority.
Altogether 47 of the 84 state lawmakers ended up giving Haselhoff their support, meaning that the 62-year-old Christian Democrat (CDU) politician, who has led the state since 2011, will now preside over a planned coalition consisting of the center-right CDU, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the environmentalist Greens.The triple coalition,
which will be the first of its kind in any German state, was formed in a bid to prevent the anti-migration,anti-Islam, Alternative for Germany (AfD)
party from taking power.
The AfD, which has a particularly strong voter base in several eastern states, received the second-largest share of the vote - 24.2 percent - in March elections. It has 24 seats in the state parliament in Magdeburg, as compared with 46 for the coalition.
The CDU, led at the national level by Chancellor Angela Merkel, made the strongest showing at the elections, with 29.8 percent of the votes. The SPD won 10.6 percent, the Left Party 16.3 percent and the Greens 5.2 percent - just over the 5 percent hurdle for parliamentary representation.
Like Merkel, Haseloff is a trained physicist who grew up, studied and worked in the former East Germany. Before becoming state premier, he was minister for economy and labor in Saxony-Anhalt from 2006.
tj/jlw Reuters, dpa)