Voters in Bavaria, the German state that formed the front line of the 2015 migration crisis, abandoned the conservative allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel in droves in an election on Sunday. But rather than shifting their allegiance mostly to the anti-immigrant far right, they gave the biggest boost to a rising liberal force: the pro-refugee Greens.
The Christian Social Union, a key component of Ms. Merkel’s fragile coalition government, remains the strongest party in the region. But it lost the absolute majority it had held in Bavaria almost without interruption since the 1960s.
It was a political earthquake that confirmed not only the continuing disintegration of support for Ms. Merkel’s government, but also the striking decline of big-tent political parties across Europe: A onetime environmental protest movement is now the second-strongest political force in Bavaria and Germany.
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