German state vote triumph offers boost to Merkel’s party

BERLIN (AP) — Final results have confirmed a larger-than-expected win for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party in the last German state election before a national vote in September. The outcome offers a boost to Merkel’s would-be successor on the center-right, though it was first and foremost a triumph for the popular state governor. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union won Sunday’s election in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt with 37.1% of the vote, far ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany with 20.8%. Pre-election polls had pointed to a much narrower outcome, in some cases even a neck-and-neck race. Elections in Germany’s 16 states are often influenced by local issues and voting sentiments but are also seen as important bellwethers for the national mood.