Merkel party down in state poll, anti-euro party may take seats
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives suffered heavy losses in Hamburg city-state elections Sunday, where an anti-euro party also looked set to enter parliament.
The centre-left Social Democrats easily won the election in their traditional northern stronghold, as expected, after an election campaign fought on local issues.
The anti-euro party Alternative for Germany (AfD) won around five percent according to early exit polls which, if confirmed, would see them narrowly enter their fourth state parliament.
The two-year-old AfD is already represented in three eastern German state assemblies and the European Parliament.
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won only about 16 percent, their worst-ever Hamburg result and one of their lowest nationwide, against about 47 percent for the Social Democrats (SPD), public broadcasters projected.
The strong SPD result was seen as a reflection of the popularity of incumbent Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz, 56, who has held an absolute majority since 2011.
Merkel, currently in her third term, regularly polls as Germany's most popular politician, and her CDU retains a solid lead in polls nationwide.
The pro-business party the Free Democrats also made a comeback, scoring seven percent in Hamburg, after their party failed to make the five-percent hurdle for seats in 2013 national elections.
© 2015 AFP