Germany’s established parties have been handed a humiliating reality check in state elections in Bavaria, according to exit polls for the major broadcasting agencies.
Bavaria has been ruled by Merkel’s ruling CDU’s sister party, the CSU (Christian Social Union), almost exclusively since 1950, but this could be set to change after a drastic reduction in their vote share.
In 2013, before the manufactured migrant crisis really got going, the CSU won 47.7% of the vote. Now, if the exit polls are accurate, their share has been slashed to 35.5%.
Merkel’s coalition partners, the SPD (Social Democratic Party), also face humiliating losses, losing around half of their support since 2013.
The major beneficiaries of this anti-establishment swing are the Green Party, who have more than doubled their share of the vote to 19%, and of course AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), who are on course to the parliament of Bavaria for the first time with 11% of the vote.
A group of independent candidates, calling themselves Free Voters, came in third place marginally above AfD.
Analysts are now contemplating what this means for German politics nationwide and what implications, if any, this result will have on the national government in Berlin.
Many inside the SPD are blaming their bad result on their continued federal coalition with the centre-right CDU, leading some to advocate a withdrawal from that coalition.