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Merkel Allies Call For New Party Leader After Worst Election Since 1949

29 September 2017

The leader of the far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) Monday questioned why Israel's existence should remain a German national interest, following his party's third-place finish in Sunday's election.

The leader of Germany's liberal Free Democrats (FDP) said his party will only join an alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel if there is a change in the direction of government policy.

Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) wants talks on forming a new German government to focus on security and curbing immigration, a senior party official said, after sharp gains by a far-right party in September 24's federal election.

The party's co-chairwoman since 2015 abruptly left Alternative for Germany, or AfD, after Sunday's election in which it won 12.6 percent of the vote.

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While acknowledging her responsibility for the state of polarisation, Merkel said: "I still see the basic decisions that I have taken and I take responsibility for them".

The victory of Merkel's center-right bloc over the center-left Social Democrats all but assures a fourth term for the Chancellor.

The entry of about 90 hard-right nationalist members of parliament breaks a taboo in post-World War II Germany.

It was "most distressing" that the AfD had achieved its best results in Saxony where it had even beaten the CDU and was now the strongest party, the director of the Catholic Academy in Dresden, Thomas Arnold, told katholisch.de.

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Another map based on the second vote share for the AfD shows that most of the party's support was in the east of Germany.

The German election results mean "the process of building a coalition could take months and that the resulting agreement will be a much weaker government in the euro zone's largest economy", said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in a note to clients.

She said that winning back voters who turned to the AfD was one of the "big" challenges she faces in her chancellorship.

Although Merkel may have won, this election would go down to history for two reasons.

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Its success has shocked Germany's political establishment, and protests against the anti-Islam party have been held in several cities following the election result.

They say the AfD can not undermine secular governance in Germany.

Arab states, Iran suspend Kurdistan flights post referendum
Iran and Turkey both opposed the vote over fears it could galvanize Kurdish independence movements in their countries. The results have yet to be announced , but Mr Barzani yesterday said his voters had chosen independence.

Merkel Allies Call For New Party Leader After Worst Election Since 1949