The Guardian –
Exit polls put party second in German state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg
Kate Connolly in Berlin
Sun 1 Sep 2019
The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland party made strong gains in two crucial state elections in Germany on Sunday, increasing its support significantly but failing to oust the mainstream parties.
But the sharp shift to the right in Saxony and Brandenburg – AfD came second in both states – is a blow to the ruling coalition of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), both parties having lost thousands of voters to AfD.
The AfD was also able to mobilise several hundred thousand people who had never voted before, initial analysis showed.
Exit polls showed the CDU remaining the strongest party in Saxony but losing more than six points to secure 33%, while AfD reached 28.1% – a gain of 18 percentage points, and a larger share of the vote than pollsters had predicted.
In Brandenburg, the SPD, which has governed there since 1990, narrowly clung to first place, winning 26.6% and losing 5 points, while AfD secured 24.5%, a more than 10-point rise and a larger share than predicted.
AfD’s success in Saxony and Brandenburg, both in the former communist east, reflects the breakdown of support for Germany’s mainstream parties, the centre-right CDU and the left-of-centre SPD and, as elsewhere in Europe, the increasing fragmentation of the political landscape.