Far-Right Vies for Lead in German Regional Election, Poll Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the German Social Democratic Party are barely holding their ground against the insurgent far-right Alternative for Germany in two states holding elections on Sunday, two polls showed.

The SPD, which has governed the eastern state of Brandenburg since German reunification in 1990, gained 2 points to 21% there. It is neck and neck with the anti-immigration AfD, which also gained 2 points compared with a survey three weeks ago, according to a survey by Insa published in Bild newspaper.

In Saxony, a CDU stronghold, Merkel’s party gained a point to 29% and is now four percentage points ahead of the AfD, according to a second poll in the same paper. The upstart far-right party surged more than 15 percentage points from the last election in 2014, while the SPD and CDU, both in Merkel’s coalition, together plunged by as much.

With Merkel’s fourth-term government saddled with infighting and deep losses for the SPD, the Sept. 1 election in the two states that were once part of communist East Germany risks prompting an early collapse of CDU-led coalition in Berlin. After almost 14 years in office, Merkel has said she won’t run again for chancellor.

Several leaders of the center-left SPD have blamed their poor showing in polls on their coalition with the center-right CDU, saying they’ve abandoned their traditional values.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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