Merkel’s party fends off far-right challenge in state vote

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives fought off a challenge from far right in a state election Sunday that was seen as the last big test for Germany’s political parties before a national vote in September. Projections by public broadcaster ARD put Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union at 36%. The far-right Alternative for Germany was projected to get 22.5% of the vote. The election result is a strong endorsement for the incumbent governor, who can now choose from three possible coalitions with smaller parties. Elections in Germany’s 16 states are seen as important bellwethers for the national mood. The CDU’s victory is a boost for Armin Laschet, who is leading the party into this fall’s election after Merkel said she won’t run again.