Merkel defends Germany’s refugee policy despite defeat in elections

Published September 6th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party clinched almost 21 percent in its first bid for seats in the regional parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. (AFP/Odd Andersen)
The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party clinched almost 21 percent in its first bid for seats in the regional parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. (AFP/Odd Andersen)

Angela Merkel has admitted she is unhappy about the results of Sunday’s regional election.

The German Chancellor’s party was relegated to third place behind an anti-immigrant party.

Merkel acknowledged her pro-refugee position has a lot to do with the CDU being overtaken in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

However, she resisted pressure to change her policy.

“I am very dissatisfied with the outcome of the election,” she told reporters. “Obviously it has something to do with the refugee question.”

“Nevertheless, I believe the decisions made were right and we have to continue to work on them.”

The election in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Merkel’s political fiefdom, was a humiliating defeat.

That, and another potential drubbing in two weeks in Berlin are casting an ominous shadow over the Chancellor’s hopes of winning – or even running – for a fourth term in 2017.

Analysts expect her to weather the storm.

However, the tide is turning for the chancellor – whose towering approval ratings have carried her party to victory at the polls over the last 11 years.

Support is falling and Conservatives, who feel they have a lock on power after governing the country for 47 of the last 65 years, are blaming Merkel’s pro-refugee stance for their mounting losses.

A recent poll suggests her approval rating has fallen from 67 percent to a five-year low of 45 percent.

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