German anti-euro party likely to enter fifth state assembly

10th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Germany's eurosceptic AfD party looked likely to enter its fifth state assembly after elections Sunday in the northern city-state of Bremen, a bastion of the centre-left Social Democrats.

Projections one hour after voting booths closed said the two-year-old Alternative for Germany had won 5.2 percent, just above the cut-off mark to enter the assembly of the smallest of Germany's 16 states.

Founded on a call for Germany to leave the eurozone, and taking a populist hardline on law-and-order and immigration issues, the AfD last year won entry into three eastern German state parliaments.

In February it also won seats in the northern city-state of Hamburg, despite internal strife in the party.

In Sunday's election the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has ruled Bremen alone or in coalition since the end of World War II, was again the clear winner.

However it scored its worst result of the post-war era, projected at 33 percent by public broadcaster ZDF, in the city that has been hit by the gradual decline of the local shipbuilding industry and strained public finances.

Early results from ZDF gave Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives 22 percent, a slight gain.

SPD city mayor Jens Boehrnsen, 66, a silver-haired former administrative law judge, has been in power since 2007, ruling with the ecologist Greens.

That coalition was no longer assured as the Greens, formerly the second strongest party, looked set to gain a disappointing 14 percent, dropping behind the conservatives.

The far-left Linke was predicted to win 10 percent, and the pro-business Free Democrats were to make a comeback to the assembly with 6.5 percent, according to 1700 GMT projections by ZDF.

© 2015 AFP

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