German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats fall to third place in a state election behind the centre-left Social Democrats and anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party, according to exit polls. Vanessa Johnston reports.
It's a stinging defeat for German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her home district. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany Party -- or AfD -- taking second place with 21 percent of the vote... Over her conservative Christian Democrats' 19 percent, according to exit polls. AfD's main candidate Leif-Erik Holm of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern hailed the results. (SOUNDBITE) (German) AFD MAIN CANDIDATE FOR STATE MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN, LEIF-ERIK HOLM, SAYING: "Maybe today is the beginning of the end of the chancellorship of Angela Merkel." The centre-left Social Democrats won 30.5 percent, but lost ground from the last election. The AfD had campaigned hard against the chancellor's open door refugee policy. Polls now show the party making gains nationwide, one year ahead of federal elections.