German Voters Punish Merkel’s Conservatives in State Votes

March 13, 2016, 5:50 PM UTC

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives lost in two out of three state elections on Sunday as Germans punished her accommodative refugee policy with a big vote for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), exit polls showed.

The losses in both Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland Palatinate represented a worst-case scenario for Merkel, who has staked her legacy on her decision last year to open Germany’s doors to over 1 million migrants – a move voters snubbed.

The backlash was also visible in Saxony-Anhalt in former East Germany, where Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) remained the largest party but saw the AfD grab 21.5% of the vote as it burst into all three regional parliaments.