Celebrations for euroskeptics, coalition uncertainty for Merkel′s CDU in eastern parliaments | News | DW | 14.09.2014
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Celebrations for euroskeptics, coalition uncertainty for Merkel's CDU in eastern parliaments

Germany's euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party will now take seats in three state parliaments. They've made the cut in Thuringia and Brandenburg, two weeks after being elected in Saxony.

Supporters of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party celebrated election gains in two eastern German states on Sunday.

"We are the force that's renewing the political landscape," AfD leader Bernd Lucke (pictured above) told party supporters in Brandenburg's state capital Potsdam, who gathered to celebrate winning 12 percent of the vote in Brandenburg and 10 percent in Thuringia, according to preliminary results.

The victories follow a fortnight after the AfD, which formed in early 2013, was voted into Saxony's state parliament with almost 10 percent, the first time it had won seats in a state legislature.

AfD party policies include opposition to eurozone bailouts, scrapping the euro currency and returning to the Deutschmark currency. The party has also campaigned on law and order and immigration issues.

Win for Social Democrats in Brandenburg

In Brandenburg, the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) retained power, with Dietmar Woidke expected to continue as state premier after the party won the biggest share of the votes - 31.9 percent.

"Brandenburg stays in good hands," Woidke told supporters.

He would have the choice of forming a coalition with existing partners the Left party which won 18.6 percent, or the Christian Democrats, who won 23.0 percent.

The SPD has led the state alongside various coalition partners for the past 24 years, ever since German reunification.

Questions remain in Thuringia

While the Christian Democrats, which is led nationally by Chancellor Angela Merkel, clearly won the most votes in Thuringia with 33.5 percent, it remains unclear whether the party will lead the state parliament under existing state premier Christine Lieberknecht.

Current coalition partners Social Democrats (SPD), which came in third with 12.4 percent of the vote, must now decide to align again with the CDU or switch allegiances to the Left party, which won second place on 28.2 percent.

If the SPD does indeed align with the Left and the Greens, which won 5.7 percent, Left party top candidate Bodo Ramelow would become the party's first state premier.

"Thuringia can write parliamentary history," Ramelow told supporters.

The Left party has roots in the former communist East Germany.

Voter turnout was reportedly low in both states, with 52.7 percent in Thuringia and 47.9 percent in Brandenburg.

se/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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