19 Sep 2011

Merkel party faces fresh election loss in Berlin

5:06 am on 19 September 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives face another drubbing in a regional election on Sunday that is expected to weaken her hand ahead of a crucial euro zone vote in parliament in two weeks.

Opinion polls show the Chancellor's Christian Democrats will win about 22% of the vote in the city-state of Berlin and come in a distant second to the centre-left Social Democrats.

The Social Democrats are forecast to win about 31% and stay in power with either the Greens or the Left party.

The euro crisis has crept into the campaign in Berlin, with the Chancellor using a radio interview ostensibly on city issues to quash talk of an imminent Greek default.

Mrs Merkel, under fire for her hesitant leadership in the crisis, is halfway through a four-year term.