Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged that her coalition suffered a “very painful” defeat in a weekend election overshadowed by Japan’s nuclear crisis, and stressed she will stick to her turnaround on nuclear power.

Ms. Merkel’s centre—right coalition lost power in the south-western state of Baden—Wuerttemberg on Sunday to a centre—left alliance, with the anti—nuclear opposition Greens set to gain their first—ever state governor.

The chancellor’s conservative Christian Democrats had governed the state since 1958.

Events in Japan prompted Ms. Merkel to abruptly freeze recently drawn—up plans to extend German nuclear plants’ lives. She ordered the oldest seven reactors shut down temporarily.

Ms. Merkel said on Monday her pledge to check safety at all 17 German nuclear reactors will be implemented.

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