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Armin Laschet hopes to succeed Angela Merkel in September. Photo: Marcel Kusch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party came out the winner in a local election in eastern Germany on Sunday, giving a hopeful boost to the party ahead of September's national elections, the Associated Press reports.

The state of play: Exit polls from Sunday indicate that Merkel's Christian Democratic Union garnered about 36% of the vote, while the far-right Alternative for Germany brought in 22%, per AP.

  • "The center-left Social Democrats also fared worse than five years ago and were expected to get about 8.4%, while the environmentalist Greens made modest gains to take 6.2%," the wire service said.

Why it matters: All eyes were on this election to see how the AfD would fare in one of its traditional strongholds, per the New York Times.

  • Sunday's exit polls indicated that the AfD, which has come under "increased scrutiny from Germany's domestic intelligence service for its ties to extremist groups," did slightly worse than in 2016, reports AP.

Of note: The CDU's success on Sunday is also a boon to the party's new leader Armin Laschet, who hopes to succeed Merkel in September, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: "We have won the election," said Saxony-Anhalt state premier Reiner Haseloff of the CDU, per Reuters. "A great majority of our citizens have said we don't want to be associated with the AfD. And for that I'm grateful."

Go deeper

Sep 4, 2021 - World

The end of the Angela Merkel era poses big questions for Europe

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Oed/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Angela Merkel has been the face of European leadership, a global power broker, a force for stability and a trusted friend to multiple U.S. presidents. But she’s about to hand over the keys to Europe’s economic powerhouse and one of the world’s most respected countries.

Why it matters: Both of the leading candidates to replace Merkel are positioning themselves as her political heir. But whoever wins will likely have to chart a different course than Merkel has, including navigating the thorny balance of power between the U.S. and China.

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.