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Greens win mayoral runoffs in Germany's most populous state

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FILE: Annalena Baerbock, left, and Robert Habeck, chairwoman and chairman of Germany's Green Party in 2019.
FILE: Annalena Baerbock, left, and Robert Habeck, chairwoman and chairman of Germany's Green Party in 2019.   -   Copyright  Guido Kirchner/dpa via AP
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Candidates for the Greens won mayoral runoff votes in several west German cities Sunday, highlighting the party's strength ahead of next year's national elections.

Greens' candidate Sibylle Keupen won more than two thirds of the vote in Aachen, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands.

In Bonn, the former German capital, Green party national lawmaker Katja Doerner ousted the incumbent mayor from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Greens candidate Uwe Schneidewind won the runoff against the centre-left Social Democrat incumbent in the industrial city of Wuppertal.

Annalena Baerbock, chairwoman of the Greens, commended the "great results" from North Rhine-Westphalia and welcomed the new mayors in Bonn, Aachen, Wuppertal, Emsdetten, Havixbeck, Monschau, Lohmar, Rösrath, Nettetal, Altenberge, Rheinberg, Kempen.

This is the first time the party has won mayoral elections in the state, which is Germany's most populous.

The Greens were the only party to make big gains in the state's municipal elections two weeks ago, almost doubling their share of the vote compared to 2014 and coming third.

Merkel's party won runoff votes in Cologne and Düsseldorf.