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Earlier in October, Merkel's ruling coalition was shaken after the Christian Social Union (CSU) - the sister party of the CDU - gained 37.3 percent in Germany's largest and second-most populous state of Bavaria.

BERLIN-Germany's governing parties lost significant support in a state election Sunday that was marked by discontent with infighting in Chancellor Angela Merkel's national government and prompted calls for her administration to get its act together quickly.

In September a year ago, Merkel's CDU party won the general election but more than 13% of the voting population chose the right-wing nationalists AfD, which are anti-Islam and anti-refugee.

In last year's general election Ms Merkel saw a drop in support and was forced to form a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats following an inconclusive result. Meanwhile, the right-wing, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) tripled its vote share from 2013 and allowing it to enter parliament for the first time with 13.2% of the vote.

Merkel, 64, has been CDU chairwoman since 2000 and giving up the role would start a race within the party to succeed her as chancellor.

Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union is defending its 19-year hold on Hesse, previously a stronghold of the center-left Social Democrats, the chancellor's federal coalition partners in Berlin.

As a result, questions are being asked about the viability of the ruling coalition in Berlin.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is battling with her coalition partners over immigration.

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Volker Bouffier, the incumbent CDU state premier in Hesse and a Merkel ally, said his party had achieved its goal of being able to lead the next government in Hesse, but added: "We are in pain because of the losses". It's not clear if the CDU will now again unite with the Greens to form a government.

"The CDU faces a turning point", Mike Mohring, a regional party leader from eastern Germany, told Welt television.

A disastrous result for either or both parties could further destabilize the national government and ultimately the position of Merkel, Germany's leader for the past 13 years. Her party has been hammered in a regional election and battered in national polls.

"We are witnessing a continuation of the pattern in place ever since Merkel's mistakes in the 2015 migration crisis: the gradual but steady erosion of her political power", said Carsten Nickel, managing director at Teneo, a consultancy.

The dismal performance poured further scorn over Merkel's authority as a leader of the CDU.

Several conservative party sources said that Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader of Merkel's conservative alliance, was ready to put himself forward for the CDU chairmanship at the party's congress in December.

The other big victor was the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered the Hesse regional assembly for the first time with 12 percent of the vote, the ARD exit poll showed.


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