German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party suffers a resounding defeat at the polls in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Sunday, which is expected to blunt her belt-tightening measures.
NRW is Germany’s most populous state with 18 million people. It is seen as a prelude of things to come at the federal level. While Germans nationally back Merkel and her tough stance on European belt tightening and debt reduction, voters in NRW handed her conservatives their worst ever result in the western state. Her Christian Democatic Union (CDU) won just over 26%, according to preliminary results, while the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) took 39 percent in NRW, home to the Ruhr industrial heartland. The result is a further blow to Merkel, a week after her strategy for fighting the eurozone crisis took a hit in Greek and French votes, prompting her to warn against “growth on credit”.
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