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A bitter defeat for Merkel months before German election

Published on Jan 21, 2013 4:52 PM
 
In an extremely tight German state election that seemed to produce few clearcut winners, there was no argument over who the biggest loser was - Chancellor Angela Merkel. --PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - In an extremely tight German state election that seemed to produce few clearcut winners, there was no argument over who the biggest loser was - Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU), led by rising star David McAllister, convinced themselves over the past week that they were on the verge of a stunning come-from-behind victory in Lower Saxony, a major agricultural and industrial region that is Germany's closest approximation to a swing state.

On Sunday, however, they came up agonisingly short, losing power to the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens that together garnered just one more seat in the state assembly than the centre-right.

The defeat is a bitter one for Dr Merkel, even if she remains a strong favourite to win a third term in a federal election eight months from now.

 
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