Merkel's party faces hammering at polls as populists eye surge

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been under intense pressure to change course and shut Germany's doors after 1.1 million refugees arrived in Europe's biggest economy last year aloneChancellor Angela Merkel’s party braced for a backlash at key state polls Sunday over the German leader’s liberal refugee policy, while the right-wing populist AfD prepared to scoop up the protest vote from angry voters. More than 12 million voters headed to the ballot box to elect three new regional parliaments in the southwestern states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as eastern Saxony-Anhalt in the so-called Super Sunday polls. The elections are the biggest since Germany registered a record influx of refugees, and are largely regarded as a referendum on Merkel’s decision to open the country’s doors to people fleeing war.

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