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Germany’s CDU bemoans collapse in former Communist East By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Armin Lasschet (CDU leader) holds a news conference one day following the German general election in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 2021. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU) expressed concern on Monday at the scale of the party’s defeat in the former Communist East in Sunday’s federal election that marks the end of the rule of Angela Merkel, who grew up in the region.

Since Helmut Kohl, the long-serving party leader, was a champion of reunification and promised “flourishing environments” to voters in the region’s poor former east, the CDU has been the predominant political force for the past three decades.

Merkel was elected chancellor in 2005. However, the popularity of CDU in the east continued. It had been declining since Merkel allowed more than 1 million refugees to enter Germany in 2015. This fueled the rise in far-right Alternative for Germany.

The party’s support for Armin Laschet (prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia) and the CDU leader, CDU, fell further during Sunday’s elections, when it was unable to catch up with Social Democrats in the majority of eastern states.

The AfD is now the biggest party in the eastern regions of Saxony and Thueringen and the second-biggest in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Laschet stated that “the losses have been particularly severe in the East” at a Monday news conference.

Paul Ziemiak was the general secretary of the party. He said that he is “embarrassed” by the state of the east.

The Social Democrats (SPD), won the Sunday election narrowly. Their candidate for the chancellor position, Olaf Scholz said Monday that he hopes to form a three-way alliance with the Greens, Liberal Free Democrats, and the Greens by Christmas in order to succeed the conservative-led Merkel government.

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