Thursday, February 25, 2016

CDU Candidates in March state elections break from Merkel

There's a big election coming up in March for Germany, where two of the biggest states, Rheinland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg will go to the polls and elect a state parliament. In both of those states, Merkel's center-right CDU party has lost considerable support to far-right AfD, which now has somewhere between 9 and 12% of the vote, well above the 5% threshold required to get seats in the regional governments.

The CDU's candidates in Rheinland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg, Julia Kloeckner and Guido Wolf, have broken away from Merkel and are calling for the federal government to set daily "refugee" quotas. This is an especially big deal because Kloeckner is understood to be Merkel's 'heir apparent,' and party members are increasingly turning to Kloeckner. Not only that, Guido Wolf is neck-and-neck with the Green Party candidate in Baden-Wuerttemberg, thanks in no small part to the rise of AfD. A Green Party victory in the Black Forest state would be a gigantic loss to the CDU, and Merkel will be to blame.

Merkel, unsurprisingly, is holding the line on her "refugee" policy.

"I'm truly working to reduce the number of refugees," the childless chancellor chided on Monday in the town of Landau. "Some people always think I don't even want that. I do."

Well, sorry Merkel, but actions are louder than words. With Merkel continually holding down her more common-sense oriented candidates in Rhineland and Baden-Wuerttemberg, the CDU is headed for a big fat loss in March.

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