The conservatives of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her social-democratic coalition partner (SPD) had to give up a lot in the state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg on Sunday. With that, her already unstable ruling coalition has been dealt a double blow.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) remained the largest party in Saxony, but saw their share in the number of votes fall by 7.4 percentage points to 32 percent compared to the last elections in 2014. The right-wing populist realistic Alternative für Deutschland ( AfD) follows in second place with 27.5 percent (2014: 9.7 percent), according to the first exit polls.

In Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, the Social Democrats (SPD) cling to first place with 27.5 percent of the vote, for the AfD at 22.5 percent. The SPD has ruled in the Land since German reunification in 1990.

Despite the gain for CDU and SPD, the AfD is expected to be the second strongest in both Länder, as was the case in Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Almost 30 years after German unification, this means a further shift in the party landscape. A difficult government formation is imminent in both states.

In Brandenburg, Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) has so far ruled with the far-left party Die Linke, in Saxony Michael Kretschmer (CDU) led a coalition with the SPD. However, according to the forecasts, these alliances no longer have a majority.

The setbacks for the ruling parties were not as great as feared, but may speed up the collapse of the national coalition led by Merkel. Committees of the parties represented in the Bundestag meet in Berlin on Monday to discuss the results of the state elections.

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