German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech during the opening ceremony of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Nicolas Asfouri/Pool Photo via AP)
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In a rare, self-critical reflection over a state election defeat, Merkel insisted three times in the space of a four-minute statement in China that her decision to open the gate for refugees last year was right and would not be changed.The poor showing of Merkel's Christian Democratic (CDU) party in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state vote has raised questions about her hopes of winning – or even running – for a fourth term in the 2017 general election.Her refusal to change course on refugees deepened a split with the arch-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of the CDU. The SPD won with 30.6 percent while the AfD scored a historic win over the CDU with 20.8 percent.The AfD played on the public's angst that refugees, some 70 percent of whom are Muslims, are overrunning Germany, siphoning away housing, resources and jobs from Germans. The CDU/CSU has slid some eight points to 33 percent in the last year, Infratest Dimap said last week.
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