German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not seek re-election

Merkel Coalition Set for Another Battering in Hesse Elections			ODD ANDERSEN  AFP  Getty Images		28 Oct 2018

Germany's two biggest parties achieved their worst result in more than half a century in Hesse, making Angela Merkel's future look uncertain, both as CDU leader and as chancellor.

The AfD claimed nearly 13 per cent of the vote - almost exactly the same percentage that it won in last year's national elections - and a place in Hesse's Parliament for the first time.

It's not clear if the CDU will now again unite with the Greens to form a government.

The clear victor of Sunday's state polls is the Green Party, in another repeat of the recent Bavarian election.

Over the last two weeks, voters in the states of Hesse and Bavaria also punished her party and coalition allies CSU and SPD in two separate regional elections.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners gave her conservatives until next year to deliver more policy results, threatening to end their alliance if there is no improvement after both parties suffered in a regional election on Sunday.

Lead candidate of Alternative for Germany (AFD) Rainer Rahn and Janine Wissler, lead candidate of Die Linke on TV following the election results.

Still, the CDU seemed to have avoided a worst-case scenario in Hesse: The potential humiliation of losing control of the state, as left-leaning parties appeared to have fallen short of the backing needed to form a government on their own.

"No-one can say with 100 percent certainty how stable things will stay, what kind of dynamics will emerge" after the election, CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Thursday.

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The result means the anti-immigration party, which entered the federal parliament for the first time previous year, is now also represented in all 16 German regional assemblies.

Merkel's coalition partner in Berlin, the Social Democrats (SPD), tanked to 19.8% in a dead heat with the resurgent Green party for second place.

Merkel has chaired the CDU for 18 years and has until now insisted that the presidency of the party went hand in hand with the chancellorship post.

The Social Democrats' leader, Andrea Nahles, on Sunday demanded a "clear, binding timetable" for implementing government projects before the federal coalition faces an already-agreed upon midterm review next fall.

The other big victor was the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered the Hesse regional assembly for the first time with 12 percent of the vote, the ARD exit poll showed.

Standing down now would allow the next party leader to build a profile before the next national election, which is due in 2021.

Earlier today she announced she would not stand for re-election as leader of the CDU during the selection process in December.

Increasing numbers of SPD members have been calling for the party to quit government and lick its wounds in opposition, as it is presently polling below AfD nationwide, at 15 percent to the far-right's 16 percent.

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