May 26, 2019 / 4:54 PM / 4 months ago

German SPD suffers state vote rout in jolt to Merkel coalition

People cast their votes at a polling station in German city-state of Bremen parliamentary elections in Bremen, Germany May 26, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats bled support in the state of Bremen on Sunday, failing to win most votes for the first time since 1946 in a major blow that could hasten the end of their national coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) won just 24.5% of the vote in Bremen, down from 32.8% in 2015. Bremen is Germany’s smallest state but failing to come first is a major setback in its northern bastion and a big psychological blow.

Merkel’s CDU came first in Bremen with 25.5% of the vote, according to an exit poll on ARD television.

Both the SPD and Merkel’s conservative bloc suffered losses in European elections also held on Sunday, bleeding support to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in a further test for their loveless national coalition government.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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