Could not find file 'C:\nwenation\newnation\news_image\daily_news\20130619\In 2.jpg'. June 19, 2013 | 03:01 AM (BD Time) 19 June, 2013 Wednesday Breaking News: DCC elections after Eid-ul-Fitr : EC ; Hartal progressing peacefully in CHT ; Indefinite transport strike continues in Khulna ; 18-party to stage demo countrywide on June 22 ; Snowden claims online Obama expanded 'abusive' security programs Austerity blow for Merkel in German state election . Reuters, Duesseldorf Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday in an election in Germany's most populous state, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up attacks on her European austerity policies. The election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), a western German state with a bigger population than the Netherlands and an economy the size of Turkey, was held 18 months before a national vote in which Merkel will be fighting for a third term. While she remains popular at home because of the strength of the economy and her steady handling of the euro zone debt crisis, the sheer scale of the defeat in NRW leaves her vulnerable at a time when a backlash against her insistence on fiscal discipline is building across Europe. According to first projections, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) won 38.9 percent of the vote and will have enough to form a stable majority with the Greens. Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) saw their support plunge to just 26.3 percent, down from nearly 35 percent in 2010, and the worst result in the state since World War Two. "This is not a good evening for Merkel," said Gero Neugebauer, a political scientist at Berlin's Free University. "The SPD is strengthened by this election, which will stir things up in Berlin." Elections in NRW have a history of influencing national politics. Seven years ago, a humiliating loss for then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD in the state prompted him to call an early election, which he lost to Merkel. For the past two years, the SPD and the Greens have run a fragile minority government under the leadership of the SPD's Hannelore Kraft, a tram-worker's daughter with a common touch whose victory on Sunday could propel her to national prominence. Today's Paper Front Page Back Page Editorial Post Editorial Commentary News Analysis City Football Cricket District Media Drama Movie Art and Culture Campus Chronicle Environment ICT Horizon Literature International Focus on Chittagong Shopping Fashion & Beauty Food and Drink Health OP-ED Women Law and Justice Readers’ Forum Share Market New Nation Supplement Govt. Supplement Diplomatic Supplement Financial Statement Contact Us Editor: A.M. MUFAZZAL, Managing Editor: ARSHAD HOSEIN. Printed and published by MAINUL HOSEIN from the New Nation Printing Press. 1.R.K Mission Road, Dhaka-1203 Phones: New Nation PABX: 7122654, 7114514, 7122655, Fax: 880-2-7122650, 9512775 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com for advertisement, firstname.lastname@example.org.