The euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has taken big strides forward in regional elections in two eastern German states. Results are emerging from votes in Thuringia and Brandenburg.
Preliminary results of votes on Sunday showed the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which was founded only last year, had gained 10.6 percent of the vote in Thuringia and 12.2 percent of the vote in Brandenburg, meaning it has won a place in the parliaments of both states for the first time.
A fortnight ago the AfD was elected to the regional parliament in another eastern German state, Saxony.
CDU wins in Thuringia
While the governing party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democrats (CDU), won the most votes in Thuringia with 33.5 percent, they may let lose the leadership of the state if their junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), switch sides.
Pre-election talk in Thuringia was of the possibility of the Left party, which came second on 28.2 percent, forming an alliance with the third-placed SPD on 12.5 percent and the Greens, who just made it over the five-percent threshold on 5.5 percent. It would give the Left party its first state premiership, with Bodo Ramelow (pictured above casting his vote).
Status quo in Brandenburg
In Brandenburg, the government looks to remain the same, with the Social Democrats winning 32 percent of the vote and likely to continue with the Left party, which won 18.6 percent, as junior partners.
The CDU came out with 23 percent of the vote.
se/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)