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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World
Merkel's party wins election in rivals' German heartland
    2017-May-16  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives won a state election Sunday in their center-left rivals' traditional heartland, a stinging blow to the challenger in September's national vote.

The western state of North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's most populous and has been led by the center-left Social Democrats for all but five years since 1966.

It is also the home state of Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat seeking to deny Merkel a fourth term in the Sept. 24 election. Schulz was hoping for a boost after two previous state election defeats sapped his party's momentum.

Instead, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union won 33 percent of the vote in the election for the state legislature, with the Social Democrats trailing on 31.2 percent.

Social Democrat governor Hannelore Kraft's coalition lost its majority as her junior governing partners, the Greens, took only 6.4 percent. Conservative challenger Armin Laschet, a deputy leader of Merkel's party, was set to replace Kraft.

"The CDU has won the heartland of the Social Democrats," said the conservatives' general secretary, Peter Tauber.

"This is a difficult day for the Social Democrats, a difficult day for me personally as well," Schulz, who wasn't on the ballot Sunday, told supporters in Berlin. "I come from the state in which we took a really stinging defeat today."

But he urged the party to concentrate now on the national election. He said that "we will sharpen our profile further — we have to as well."

"We will continue fighting; the result will come on Sept. 24," Schulz said.

The Social Democrats' national ratings soared after Schulz, a former European Parliament president, was nominated in January as Merkel's challenger. But defeats in two other state elections since late March punctured the party's euphoria over Schulz's nomination.

The Social Democrats' result in Sunday's election, the last before the national vote, was their worst in North Rhine-Westphalia since World War II.

(SD-Agencies)

 

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