Following last year’s general election, voters in four German states will take to the polls this year. The first election is in Saarland on March 27 – followed by elections in Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westphalia in May and Lower Saxony in October. While the Social Democrats (SPD) are looking to consolidate their power at the state level (and in the upper house, Bundesrat), the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) will have four opportunities to try to win back support after major losses at the federal level.
The situation in each state is different – but these elections are likely to serve as both a referendum on the leadership of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Ampelkoalition and a litmus test for the new leader of the CDU, Friedrich Merz. Saarland is a small state on the border of France and Luxembourg, but it carries symbolic importance: The CDU has governed the state since 1999 but it is trailing the SPD in polls by nearly ten percent in some polls. A loss there could upset Merz’s momentum to rebuild the party.
Join us for a discussion about what’s at stake in Saarland with journalist Dr. Daniel Kirch, Chief Correspondent for State Politics at the Saarbrücker Zeitung, on March 25 at 11 am ET.