BERLIN – A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party says the conservatives' unexpectedly strong win in a state vote gives them "tail wind" for bigger upcoming elections.
Merkel's Christian Democrats easily beat the center-left Social Democrats in Saarland state Sunday. A tighter race was expected after the Social Democrats were boosted in polls by nominating Martin Schulz to challenge Merkel in September's national election.
Armin Laschet, a Christian Democrat deputy leader, told ZDF television Monday: "Everything that was said about the Schulz train rolling over everything and changing everything didn't come true."
The Saarland governor's popularity apparently made the difference Sunday. Laschet faces a tough task to oust a center-left regional government in May in North Rhine-Westphalia.
He said: "We have tail wind, but we haven't won anything yet."