Anti-immigrant AfD seen winning 15 percent of vote in Berlin election

BERLIN (Reuters) - The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is expected to win 15 percent of the vote in the Sept. 18 election in Berlin, a new poll showed Thursday, a result that would give the party seats in 10 of 16 German state assemblies.

The AfD beat Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats into third place in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on Sunday amid growing discontent about Merkel’s decision to welcome about a million refugees over the past year.

A new poll commissioned by German broadcaster ARD showed the party, created in 2013, was poised for further gains in the Berlin election.

The poll showed the Social Democratic Party, which has the lead in the current center-right coalition government, would remain the strongest party with 21 percent of the vote, but that marks a sharp drop from 28.3 percent in the last election in the city-state five years ago.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU)is projected to drop to 19 percent from 23.3 percent, which would make it impossible for the two parties to maintain the current ruling coalition.

In Berlin, the pro-environment Green party was projected to win 16 percent of the vote, down from 17.6 percent in 2011. The Left party and the AfD would each win about 15 percent of the vote, the poll showed.

The liberal Free Democratic Party was poised to win 5 percent of the vote, which would help it regain seats in the Berlin assembly after dropping out with just 1.8 percent of the vote in 2011.

The polling organization Infratest dimap surveyed 1,002 eligible voters on Sept. 6-7.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal