Angela Merkel has reason to make the Bush-back-rub face: Her ruling coalition just suffered a major loss in a regional election with national implications. The Green Party, the Left Party and, by extension, the Social Democrats were all big winners.
Crucially for Merkel, the poll setback means that her coalition will now lose its majority in the Bundesrat, or upper house of parliament, which will make it far more difficult for her government to push through legislation.
The opposition Social Democrats (SPD), which had run on a par with the CDU in the polls for some weeks, also appear to have won 34.5% of the vote (a loss of 2.6%), while the Greens increased their standing by 6.3% to 12.5% – not enough for the two to form a majority.
The Linke – or Left – party, a relatively new political formation with its roots in the former communist East, increased its influence by securing 6%, enabling it to enter the regional state parliament for the first time.