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The other elections

September 27, 2009

In the shadow of Germany's nationwide general election, two German states - Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg - voted for their regional parliaments on Sunday. The outcome of the two polls couldn't be more different.

pen, crossed-out circle
Two state elections took place on the same day as the national pollImage: DW

Both states had been governed by grand coalitions of Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD), but now it seems as if these alliances will fall apart.

CDU's Peter Harry Carstensen
CDU's Peter Harry Carstensen is likely to stay in powerImage: AP

According to exit polls, the governing CDU in the northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein took a little over 31 percent of the vote, with the second largest party, the SPD, falling drastically to around 25 percent from some 38 percent in 2005.

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) climbed to over 15 percent of the vote - their best result in the history of the state election.

Echoing the nationwide trend, the CDU will now be able to form a coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats thanks to winning a majority of seats in the state parliament.

A shift to the left?

SPD Premier Matthias Platzeck of Brandenburg
SPD's Platzeck may test the waters with the Left partyImage: AP

In Brandenburg, however, the Social Democrats remain the strongest party, despite small losses compared to the 2005 election.

Exit polls said the SPD took around 31 percent of the vote, with the CDU - the SPD's former coalition partner - winning around 21 percent.

The second strongest party was the Left party, which climbed to around 28 percent of the vote.

There is now a very real chance that the SPD could join up with the Left party, an offshoot of the former ruling party of communist East Germany.

Left party business official Dietmar Bartsch said it was time for a change in the political atmosphere in Brandenburg, calling a coalition with the SPD "very possible."

Social Democrat State Premier, Matthias Platzeck, who is yet to announce his plans for a coalition partner, has not ruled out a first-time coalition with the Left party.

Editor: Toma Tasovac