Preliminary results from the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday show the conservative CDU party winning the largest share of the vote. The result – which is considered an important indicator of the national mood – will come as a major blow to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD party. 

NRW election result: CDU beats SPD

The centre-right Christian Democratic Union, the party of former chancellor Angela Merkel which lost its position as the biggest party in the Bundestag at the federal election in 2021, received 35,7 percent of the vote. This puts the CDU in the primary position to lead the parliament of the biggest federal state in Germany. The Social Democrats came second with 27 percent of the vote. 

Alongside the CDU’s resurgence, the second success story of the night was the Green party, which more than doubled its support to receive 18,1 percent of the vote and emerge as the third-largest party. In September 2021, the party received its best-ever national result to put them as a minority partner in the coalition government. The result on Sunday puts the left-leaning party in a kingmaker position in North Rhine-Westphalia. 

Result major victory for CDU and blow for SPD

The vote in North Rhine-Westphalia was the biggest election in Germany this year and thus considered a key indicator of how the SPD – FDP – Green government is faring after just under six months in office. After the CDU was demoted to the opposition in the Bundestag after the federal election last year, the result in North Rhine-Westphalia will be considered a major victory. 

“The CDU is back,” said Friedrich Merz, the leader of the CDU. Describing the election as a “test of the mood” for the country, he said the result was an “outstanding” victory for state premier Hendrik Wüst, who took over from Armin Laschet last year.

On Twitter, Wüst wrote that voters had made a clear decision and handed the CDU a mandate to lead a government in the state. Up until now, the CDU has been ruling North Rhine-Westphalia in a coalition with the FDP, but that is no longer possible. Coalition talks will soon be underway, with the Greens the most likely partner. 

The CDU victory in North Rhine-Westphalia follows a landslide victory in Schleswig-Holstein last week, but the party hasn’t been experiencing a resurgence across the board: back in March, the state of Saarland delivered a landslide victory for the SPD which ended a coalition between the Social Democrats and the CDU. 

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