Merkel's party suffers defeat by anti-immigrant campaign in state election

Merkel's Christian Democrat party dropped into third place Credit: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has slumped into third place in a state election - just a year before the next Parliamentary vote.

According to TV exit polls, the conservative Christian Democrats came in behind the centre-left Social Democrats and the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, having fought the election on an anti-immigrant platform.

It was the first election AfD have entered - and in a stinging defeat for Merkel, they won 21 per cent of the vote in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state.Their campaign revolved around slamming the chancellor's policies on refugees.

The election appeared to reveal a shift to the right for voters.

The Social Democrats - which has ruled the rural state in a coalition with the Christian Democrats since 2006 - won 30.5 per cent of the vote, down from 35.6 in 2011.

The Christian Democrats won 19 per cent, down from 23 per cent.The far-left Left Party dropped from 18.4 per cent of the vote five years ago to 12.5 per cent this time around, while the Greens took just five per cent, down from 8.7 per cent.