German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Chrsitian Democratic Union was defeated on Sunday in the country’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, garnering just 25% of the vote against opponent Social Democrats and Greens which obtained 38% and 11% respectively.
Merkel’s party poor showing follows a similarly disappointing result a week ago in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, where the Christian Democrat coalition was also defeated and taken out of office.
Since both elections have been framed as referendums on Angela Merkel’s austerity policies, analysts believe the results could be a preview of what the chancellor can expect during next year’s federal elections.
Angie’s defeat is significant because these states are two of the country’s most populous, and also because Norbert Roettgen, Merkel’s potential successor and this year's candidate for the North-Rhine-Westphalia governorship, lost on a platform of fiscal restrain while their opponents ran on a populist and anti-austerity platform.
The scenario mirrors recent elections in Greece, France and the United Kingdom where voters have overwhelmingly rejected austerity measures sweeping left-of-center candidates into office as right-of-center ones (like former President Nicolas Sarkozy in France) are ousted in a kind of looming European Spring.