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Merkel's party suffers losses in state votes - swissinfo

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party suffered losses in regional elections on Sunday, exit polls showed, a disappointment for her conservatives one month before she seeks re-election in a federal vote.

In the state of Saarland, on the French border, and in Thuringia, in the ex-communist east, Christian Democrat (CDU) leaders who have ruled for a decade saw their support slump by over 10 points compared to 2004 to 34.5 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively.

They could both be unseated by leftist coalitions. In a third regional vote in the eastern state of Saxony, Merkel's party looked poised to retain power, most likely in a coalition with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

The three state elections were seen as key tests of sentiment in the run-up to the September 27 federal vote.

by Fran on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 12:57:50 PM EST

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