German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s Social Democrat Party took a deep plunge in Sunday’s municipal elections in the eastern state of Brandenburg. For the first time since Germany’s reunification in 1990, the SPD fell well behind the opposition Christian Democratic Union and the former communist Party of Democratic Socialists in many Brandenburg cities. Compared to the last vote five years ago, the ruling SPD lost 15 to 16 percent for a all-time low of 21 percent while the CDU pulled ahead to about 28 percent. State Premier Matthias Platzcek (SPD) attributed his party’s slip in popularity to the federal politics of Chancellor Schröder. "It didn’t help us at all," he said referring to the package of austere social and economic reforms Schröder and the federal coalition of SPD and Greens is pushing through parliament. The setback in Brandenburg is part of a larger trend of losses for the SPD across the country. Only a month ago, it was utterly crushed by the Christian Social Union in Bavaria’s state elections, and at the start of the year it lost out to the CDU in Hesse and Lower Saxony.