The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party swept into three state parliaments on Sunday in elections seen as a major test of Chancellor Angela Merkel's handling of the refugee crisis.
Founded three years ago, the AfD secured an unprecedented 21.5 per cent of the vote in the economically backward state of Saxony-Anhalt, public TV exit polls showed on Sunday.
It is also set to enter state parliaments in the wealthy south-western states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, scoring 12.5 per cent and 10 per cent of the vote respectively.
The results mean that the right-wing party is now represented in half of Germany's 16 state parliaments, positioning it enter the Bundestag in a national election in 2017.
Dubbed Super Sunday, the election exit polls showed Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) remaining the strongest party in Saxony-Anhalt, but failing to regain power in both Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.
In Baden-Wuerttemberg, popular state premier Winfried Kretschmann and his environmentalist Greens emerged for the first time as the biggest party in a state parliament with 32.5 per cent of the vote.
Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 22:26
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Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 15:54