photo by Dan Zelazo (1yen on Flickr CC)

In an election many consider to be a referendum on the German government’s nuclear energy policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union experienced a significant loss over the weekend.

The CDU was defeated in the traditionally conservative state of Baden-Württemberg by the Green-Social Democratic Party (SPD) coalition, making way for a likely Green state premier. This would be the first time in Germany for a state to have a premier from the Green Party.

From Deutsche Welle:

The Social Democrats (SPD) polled 23.1 percent, and gives a “green-red” coalition of the Greens and the SPD a majority. As predicted, the CDU took a severe drubbing, coming in with only 39 percent, a drop of 5.2 points. It was the party’s second-worst showing in the state.

The Greens also gained ground in the smaller state of Rhineland-Palatinate, though they are already in a ruling coalition there with the SPD, also the party that they gained the most votes from.

The Green Party’s gains are attributed to the recent nuclear incident in Fukushima, Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami there. Always a hot-button issue in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted damage control by freezing plans to extend the lives of several of the European country’s nuclear plants as well as shutting down several older reactors.

Merkel is quoted by the Associated Press:

A major party like the CDU … is well advised to draw new conclusions from new events. Most of us of course advocate the peaceful use of nuclear energy. I was one of them, but for me Japan is a far-reaching event.

The strategy seems to have backfired in Baden-Württemberg.

See this video report from Times of India online: