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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:05 AM

Merkelís Strong Standing Takes a Hit in Local German Elections.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is without question the most powerful politician in Europe, trusted by German voters with their money and their future, but that still may not be enough to secure her a third term in elections this year.

A down-to-the-wire state election over the weekend has shaken up German politics, handing the upper house of Parliament squarely to the opposition and jeopardizing Ms. Merkelís re-election chances in September.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with her Christian Democratic party leaders, the chancellor did not try to play down the outcome of Sundayís vote in the state of Lower Saxony. ďI donít want to beat around the bush ó after such an emotional roller coaster, a loss hurts all the more,Ē said Ms. Merkel, standing beside her partyís lead candidate from the state, a visibly shellshocked David McAllister, who had led the polls for months.

The Social Democrats and Greens were poised to take power in the state after eking out a one-seat majority in the state Parliament, ending a decade of conservative control. Once again it was the relative weakness of Ms. Merkelís coalition partners, the Free Democrats, that decided the election.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/world/europe/center-left-defeats-merkels-party-in-state-vote.html?hp

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