German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives defeated the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) in a key state election, exit polls on Monday showed, boosting their hopes of retaining power in September’s national vote.
The state election was held on Sunday.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) saw a surge in support in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), which is home to one in five German voters and has often been an indicator of national electoral trends.
The CDU won 33 per cent, up from 26.3 per cent in 2012, according to projections on public broadcaster ARD.
The CDU focused its campaign in NRW on attacking the SPD for failing to tackle local issues like crumbling infrastructure that causes huge traffic jams, rising crime and an underperforming education system.
The conservatives, who defeated the SPD in three state elections in March, are hoping…
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