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Merkel Ally FDP Defeated a Week Before Federal Vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks to the podium before she speaks during an election rally in Dresden, on Sept. 15, 2013. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks to the podium before she speaks during an election rally in Dresden, on Sept. 15, 2013. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Germany’s Free Democratic Party said it will step up its campaign to remain Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition ally after a state election defeat one week before the national vote.

Support for the FDP fell to 3 percent in Bavarian regional elections today from 8 percent five years ago, bouncing the party out of the state legislature, according to separate projections by public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.

“This is without a doubt a serious defeat for the FDP,” FDP head Philipp Roesler told reporters in televised remarks. “But from now it’s about Germany. This result is a wake-up call to all liberals in Germany”

Merkel, who has guided Europe’s largest economy through the euro-area debt crisis, is seeking a third term on Sept. 22 and says her preference would be to extend her second-term coalition with the Free Democrats. If replicated at the national level, an FDP collapse might force Merkel to ally with the Social Democrats, the main opposition party.

At the same time, Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc includes the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union, which gained voter share and won an absolute majority in the state’s legislature, according to the projections.

The vote in Bavaria “gives us hope that this momentum will help re-elect Angela Merkel,” Armin Laschet, a deputy chairman of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, said on ARD television. “The FDP has traditionally been weak in Bavaria.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Tony Czuczka in Berlin at aczuczka@bloomberg.net; Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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