Europe

Germany: vice chancellor criticizes Merkel after election

  • Social Democratic Party , SPD,  chairman Sigmar Gabriel speaks about the results of the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Sunday Sept. 4, 2016. The center-left Social Democrats, who lead the outgoing state government, were expected to be the strongest party with about 30 percent support. ( Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP)

    Social Democratic Party , SPD, chairman Sigmar Gabriel speaks about the results of the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Sunday Sept. 4, 2016. The center-left Social Democrats, who lead the outgoing state government, were expected to be the strongest party with about 30 percent support. ( Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Workers remove an election poster of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU top candidate Lorenz Caffier for the election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. The nationalist, anti-immigration party Alternative for Germnany, AfD, has performed strongly in the state election Sunday in the region where Merkel has her political base, overtaking her conservatives to take second place amid discontent with her migrant policies. (Christian Charisius/dpa via AP)

    Workers remove an election poster of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU top candidate Lorenz Caffier for the election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. The nationalist, anti-immigration party Alternative for Germnany, AfD, has performed strongly in the state election Sunday in the region where Merkel has her political base, overtaking her conservatives to take second place amid discontent with her migrant policies. (Christian Charisius/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Frauke Petry, chairwoman of the German right-populist AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, attends a press conference  about yesterday's elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Word in the background reads 'winner' and is part of the slogan : "That's How Winners Look Like"  The nationalist, anti-immigration party performed strongly in a state election Sunday in the region where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her political base, overtaking her conservatives to take second place amid discontent with her migrant policies. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    Frauke Petry, chairwoman of the German right-populist AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, attends a press conference about yesterday's elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Word in the background reads 'winner' and is part of the slogan : "That's How Winners Look Like" The nationalist, anti-immigration party performed strongly in a state election Sunday in the region where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her political base, overtaking her conservatives to take second place amid discontent with her migrant policies. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-left deputy is accusing her conservatives of being too slow to respond to the migrant crisis following a state election in which a nationalist, anti-immigration party beat Merkel's party into third place.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel's Social Democrats won Sunday's election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where Merkel has her parliamentary constituency. It was the first of five regional votes before a national election expected next September.

The three-year-old Alternative for Germany drew supporters from across the spectrum to finish second with 20.8 percent of votes. Merkel's welcome for refugees a year ago was a prominent issue.

Merkel has insisted that "we will manage" the crisis. Gabriel said Monday that "we have to do it too" and that "we have wasted a great deal of time with unnecessary arguments."