The traditionally very conservative state, Baden-Wuertenbemberg may get a Green governor after this Sunday´s local election:
The opposition anti-nuclear Greens doubled their voter share in Baden-Wuerttemberg state and seemed poised to win their first-ever state governorship, according to calculations based on partial results published by public broadcaster ARD.
The Greens secured 24 percent of the vote, with the center-left Social Democrats down 2 percentage points at 23.2 percent, giving them enough to form a coalition government in the state, the results showed.
A center-left government a decade ago penned a plan to abandon the [nucuear] technology for good by 2021, but Merkel's government last year amended it to extend the plants' lifetime by an average of 12 years.
Germany currently gets about a quarter of its energy from nuclear power, but plans to eventually replace it with renewable energies.
Merkel's party has held power in the region around Stuttgart, home to some 11 million people, since 1953.
There was more good news for the Greens in neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate, where the Social Democrat premier Kurt Beck has governed with an absolute majority since 2006.
According to the vote projections, the Social Democrats suffered sizable losses, with its share of the vote falling from 45.6 percent in 2006 to 38 percent on Sunday.
The Greens, which failed to get elected to the regional parliament in 2006, won 16.8 percent of the vote. Mr. Beck is expected to ask the Greens to join a coalition with the Social Democrats.
Germans have a deep-seated aversion to nuclear power, and the damage at Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan has galvanized opposition. On Saturday, more than 200,000 people took to the streets of four big German cities to protest against nuclear power. The news from Japan of soaring radiation levels led every radio and television newscast on Sunday.
The pro-business Free Democrats seem to be big losers in both Baden Wurtenberg where they got 5% of the votes, down from about 10% last election, and in Rhineland-Palatinate where they got less than 5% of the votes and fell out of parliament.