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updated: 1/21/2013 7:29 AM

State loss a blow to Merkel, but far from decisive

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  • German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democrats, CDU, Angela Merkel, left, and the CDU top candidate of the Lower Saxony state elections, David McAllister, right.

      German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democrats, CDU, Angela Merkel, left, and the CDU top candidate of the Lower Saxony state elections, David McAllister, right.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a state election loss months before a national vote was painful -- but she's downplaying the implications for her quest for a third term.

Merkel stressed Monday she still aims to win a new four-year term for the center-right coalition of her conservatives and their struggling junior partners, the Free Democrats.

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Germany's center-left opposition ejected those parties from the government of Lower Saxony state Sunday by a wafer-thin margin. It was one of the last major tests before national parliamentary elections, due in September.

Lower Saxony's conservative governor lost his job despite his personal popularity -- and surveys show Merkel herself is much more popular than her coalition with the pro-market Free Democrats.

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