DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 14 (Reuters) - The government of Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), failed to get its 2012 budget through the local parliament on Wednesday, threatening a snap election that could weaken Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner.
State premier Hannelore Kraft, who leads the minority government of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens, had earlier said she would call a fresh election if the budget plans were not approved.
An election in the western state could further weaken conservative Merkel's federal coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), as polls show they risk being kicked out of parliament. In recent years, elections in NRW have had a destabilising influence on national politics.
Kraft had hoped to win backing from the opposition FDP for the budget but their long-standing objections were not overcome in time for the vote.