BREMEN, Germany (Reuters) – Germany’s weakened Social Democrats (SPD) look likely to lose the state of Bremen after seven decades next week in an election that could set the clock ticking on their strained national coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Polls before the May 26 vote in the northern trading city, home to Beck’s beer, reflects the disillusionment among supporters fed up with a party they feel has lost its way after serving 10 of the last 14 years as Merkel’s kingmaker.
Bremen - Country - State - Population - People
Losing Bremen, the country’s smallest state with a population of just 680,000 people, would represent an earthquake for the party that has held it for 73 years. No other German state has been ruled by the same party for so long.
“Bremen is small but the psychological impact of this election is big,” said Kevin Kuehnert, the leftist leader of the SPD’s youth wing JUSOS who has caused an uproar by suggesting firms such as BMW should be collectivized.
Elections - Parliament - Place - Day - Pressure
Elections to the European Parliament take place on the same day and could pile further pressure on the coalition.
A lackluster SPD showing could be the outcome for a junior coalition partner that has consistently failed to take credit for its achievements and which leaves Merkel to enjoy the limelight on the international stage.
Kuehnert - Supporters - Call - Change - Agenda
But for some, such as Kuehnert’s supporters, it would be a clear call for change and a more left-wing agenda in opposition.
“There is too much complacency. We need a change – the SPD have done alright but it’s been too long. They need time out – here and nationally,” said teacher Jochen Lang at a sausage stand in a car park where the Greens, SPD and CDU campaigned.
SPD - Year - Coalition - President - Talks
A reluctant SPD was effectively forced last year to re-enter a Merkel-led coalition by the president after talks on a three-way tie-up without the...
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