GERMAN chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted mistakes in her handling of the refugee crisis after her Christian Democrats (CDU) were dealt a huge blow by voters in Sunday’s Berlin state elections.
Conceding that “for some time, we didn’t have enough control” Merkel defended the principle of opening Germany’s borders to an enormous influx of refugees but agreed that her government had made a serious error in not adequately preparing for the social and economic consequences.
“If I was able to, I would turn back time by many, many years, so that I could have prepared the whole government and the authorities for the situation which hit us out of the blue in the late summer of 2015,” she said.
The September 18 elections saw the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party win 14.1 per cent of the vote, compared to the CDU’s 17.5 per cent, to enter Berlin’s state parliament for the first time.
The capital is now likely to be governed by a left-wing coalition comprised of three parties uniting around the AfD after both the CDU and the Social Democrats managed their worst local results in history.
By contrast the AfD has now entered its tenth state parliament in a row and continues to strengthen its position ahead of next year’s federal elections.