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German euroskeptics jubilant

May 26, 2014

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives won the EU elections in Germany with final results putting them at 35.3 percent. But other parties had reason to jubilate - such as the euroskeptic AfD.

Bernd Lucke jubilant
Image: Getty Images

For the first time, Germany's contingent of 96 European Parliament deputies will include euroskeptics: The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), was estimated to have won six of the 96 German seats, as they won 7 percent of the vote.

Party leader Bernd Lucke was triumphant: "This is springtime in Germany," he said.

The AfD campaigned on a platform which included demands to expel weak southern European economies from the eurozone, end bailouts and return central powers from Brussels to the national level. It is "necessary to correct Europe," Lucke said Sunday.

"It is important for the electorate in Germany that there is such a party that will review critically the results of policies which have been implemented in the past," Lucke told DW in an interview.

Interview with AfD Chairman Bernd Lucke

The AfD has ruled out working with extreme right groups such as those in France and The Netherlands or the euro-skeptic UKIP in Great Britain. Lucke and his party will most likely seek allies within the conservatives and reformists in Europe.

The second-largest share of the German vote went to Merkel's Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners, who won 27.3 percent of the vote, gaining seven percent on their 2009 result.

The SPD's top candidate, Martin Schulz, who is currently the president of the European Parliament, is still hoping to get enough support in parliament to become head of the European Commission in Brussels, succeeding Jose Manuel Barroso.

Voter turnout in Germany was high, rising by 5 percentage points to 48 percent in comparison to 2009.

Merkel's bloc won 35.3 percent of votes, significantly lower than its general election result of 41.5 percent last year and it's worst-ever result in an EU poll.

The losses were largely confined to Bavaria, where the CDU's 'sister party', the Christian Social Union CSU won only 40 percent of the vote - a record low.

Germany's two largest opposition parties, the center-left Greens and Left Party, won 11 and 8 percent of votes respectively.

Parliamentary thresholds were abolished by a court in February, which meant that fringe parties have won seats, including the far-right, anti-foreigner National Democratic Party, NPD.