German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition faces its second test

Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition faces its second test in as many weeks on Sunday as voters go to the polls in the western state of Hesse for a regional election that could torpedo the national government.

The Hesse election has taken on extra significance after another regional vote on Oct. 14 resulted in the worst result since 1950 for Merkel’s Bavarian allies and humiliation for the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), her other ruling partner as reported by Reuters.

Should Merkel’s conservative ally in Hesse, Volker Bouffier, lose his post as state premier, the chancellor’s enemies will be emboldened ahead of her Christian Democrats’ (CDU) party congress in early December and may try to hasten her demise.

The other risk for Merkel is that her SPD coalition partners come third in Hesse, which is home to financial hub Frankfurt. Such an outcome would increase pressure from the SPD’s rank-and-file for the party to pull out of the coalition with Merkel in Berlin.

“Will Hesse blow up the GroKo today?” newspaper Bild am Sonntag asked, using the popular abbreviation for Merkel’s ruling ‘grand coalition’.

A survey by pollster Emnid for the newspaper showed support nationally for Merkel’s conservative alliance down 1 percentage point on the week at 24 percent, with the SPD on 15 percent – sharp falls from the 32.9 percent and 20.5 percent they won respectively at last year’s national election.

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