The regional elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), the most populous "Land" (or state) in Germany, have provided a new warning for the ruling Social Democratic Party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which ran up against the local strength of the Christian Democrats and skyrocketing support for the Greens.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party that currently heads the regional coalition with the liberal Free Democrats, obtained 35.2 percent of the votes in the regional election, an increase of 2 points since the 2017 balloting, according to projections made public by ZDF public television an hour after the polls closed on Sunday.

Scholz's SPD obtained 27.7 percent of the votes, down 3 percent from the last regional election, a result that is perhaps not so bad compared with the plunge in popularity suffered by the chancellor's party a week ago in the small northern Land of Schleswig-Holstein, where they dropped to a historic low.

However, the CDU is not necessarily on the verge of recovering its former dominion over NRW, the most populous German Land with 18 million citizens - one-quarter of Germany's population - and the area from which CDU leader Friedrich Merz, the head of the opposition in the federal parliament, the Bundestag, hails.

EFE gc/amg/bp