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Merkel's coalition suffers defeat in key state election | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 09.05.2010
Exit polls show that Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition parties have suffered huge losses in elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, robbing her government of a majority in the upper house of parliament. 

Exit polls by public broadcaster ARD showed Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won 34.3 percent of the vote, down 10 percentage points from the last vote in 2005 and their worst showing in the state ever. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) didn't do much better with some 34.4 percent of the vote. 

However, with the market-friendly Free Democrats, the CDU's current coalition partner, coming in with only 6.6 percent of the vote, the SPD could form a coalition with the Greens. According to the exit polls, the Greens almost doubled their showing from the last state election and secured 12.5 percent. The Left Party won 6 percent.

It was the first test for the Chancellor Angela Merkel's six-month-old coalition CDU and FDP government. A victory for the SPD and the Greens would cost the ruling government its majority in the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament which represents the 16 federal states.

by Fran on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:51:41 PM EST
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