October 28, 2018 / 5:12 PM / 18 days ago

Merkel allies bleed support in crunch German state vote

BERLIN, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition allies in Berlin both haemorrhaged support in a regional election in the western state of Hesse on Sunday, dealing a fresh blow to the fragile national government.

Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) came home first but polled just 28 percent of the vote, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD showed. That marked a big drop from the 38.3 percent the CDU won at the last Hesse election, in 2013.

The SPD won 20 percent, down from 30.7 percent in 2013, and pipped the ecologist Greens, on 19.5 percent, into third place. The result suggests the CDU and Greens could continue their ruling coalition in Hesse but is likely to increase tensions in Merkel’s ruling ‘grand coalition’ in Berlin.

Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Joseph Nasr

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