Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right bloc suffered another humiliating defeat in a regional election in Germany's poorest state, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, on Sunday with both her conservatives and her Free Democrat allies losing support.
Exit polls by the ARD network showed Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) falling to 24% from the 28.8% it won in the last vote in there in 2006. The Free Democrats (FDP) were an opposition party in the state but crashed out of the assembly with 3 percent, down from 9.6% in 2006.
The euro zone crisis loomed over the campaign ahead of a key vote in the Berlin parliament on euro zone bailout reforms in late September. Merkel had campaigned heavily in the state with nine appearances. It is also home to her constituency.
The CDU and FDP have suffered setbacks in six state elections this year and the CDU has lost control of two states it long ruled to the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).
The SPD, who have ruled with the CDU in the state since 2006, climbed to 37% from 30.2% five years ago. They could continue the coalition with the CDU or switch to the Left party, which won 17% or the Greens, which won seats in the state for the first time ever with 8.5%.
The far-right NPD also appeared to have won seats in the state assembly with 5.5%, just clearing the five percent hurdle, after they won 7.3% in 2006.