The Social Democrats came top in the poll with 39.1 percent, with the Greens coming in second place after doubling its vote to 24 percent. This means they will probably maintain their ruling coalition in the city-state. However, the CDU fell into third place with only 11.2 percent of the vote. The disappointing result has come as the CDU announced they will hold an extraordinary party congress on either April 25 or May 9 to elect a new chairperson, after Mrs Merkel said she will not run again in the next federal election in October 2021.
The CDU’s candidate Marcus Weinberg said the election result on Sunday had been like Hamburg’s weather, “bad”.
And CDU Secretary General Paul Ziemiak said: “It is a bitter day for the CDU in Germany and a historically bad result in Hamburg.
“There’s no way of sugar-coating it.”
Preliminary results also showed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) scraped into the Hamburg parliament, just four days after a racist gunman killed 11 people, including himself, in the western town of Hanau.
The AfD, which has capitalised on growing anger over Merkel’s open-door migrant policy, especially in the former Communist East, won 5.3 percent.
This was just over the 5 percent threshold needed to get into the state parliament, according to the preliminary results.
The CDU was thrown into chaos two weeks ago when leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer unexpectedly said she would no longer seek to succeed her mentor Mrs Merkel.
Her shock move came after an eastern branch of the CDU defied the national party and voted with the AfD to bring in state leader from a third party.
This broke a post-war consensus among established parties of shunning the far-right.
There are said to be four or five candidates eying up Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s vacant role.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer will brief reporters after today’s meeting of senior CDU officials.
She is expected to set out a timetable for a decision on the party chair and possibly the candidate for chancellor.
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The n-tv broadcaster cited CDU sources as saying the party will hold an extraordinary congress either in April or May to elect a new leader.
Daniel Guenther, leader of the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, told broadcaster SWR that the CDU should clear up the leadership question quickly and hold a party conference “well before the summer break”.
Daily newspaper Bild dubbed the Hamburg result a “debacle” for the CDU.
It added its leadership crisis has raised questions over the future course of Europe’s largest economy.
Hamburg was previously ruled with an absolute majority by CDU mayor Ole von Beust until 2008.
The party then clung to power for another three years in a coalition.
But support for the CDU in this state quickly collapsed after a series of unpopular privatisation deals and spending.
Olaf Scholz was the SPD mayor of Hamburg from 2011 to 2018.
He is now Mrs Merkel’s federal finance minister and vice chancellor.
During this weekend’s state election, the CDU struggled to find a strong lead candidate.
This came after its first choice, Aygül Özkan, became seriously ill.
Instead, they elected Mr Weinberg, 52, even though he had a low public profile.
He took the party to its lowest share of the vote at a state-level election since the 1951 ballot in Bremen, another northern city state.
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