Scholz’ Social Democrats win in the Saarland election – exit survey – POLITICO

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats are poised for a major victory in tiny western Germany’s Saarland on Sunday, polls show, putting the party first in the first of four state elections this year.

According to forecasts, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) will receive 43.2 percent of the votes first projections from the public broadcaster ZDF. With 28 percent, Scholz’s party is well ahead of Prime Minister Tobias Hans’ CDU.

This is intended to oust SPD top candidate Anke Rehlinger Hans, who previously governed with the SPD as junior partner.

If the exit poll numbers are confirmed by final results, the Social Democrats would be on the way to a majority in the Saarland state parliament and could govern without a coalition partner.

Of the other parties in the running, only two more are currently able to clear the 5 percent hurdle for entry into the state parliament. These are the Greens – according to the ZDF extrapolation to 5.5 percent – and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) to 5.4 percent. Whether the FDP, which according to the projections will reach 4.9 percent, will move into parliament is still uncertain.

Although Saarland is Germany’s second-smallest state with just under a million inhabitants, the vote should strengthen the power of Scholz, who was elected chancellor at the end of last year after a surprise victory in the September Bundestag elections. In these elections, the SPD ousted the CDU of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, who did not stand for re-election after 16 years in office.

After the vote, SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert spoke of a “landslide victory” that would also affect national politics. “It gives an incredible tailwind,” he told ZDF.

Germany faces three even more important state elections this year: in Schleswig-Holstein on May 8; in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous federal state, on May 15; and in Lower Saxony on October 9th. Scholz' Social Democrats win in the Saarland election - exit survey - POLITICO

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