Germany's anti-migrant populists made a strong showing at Sunday's state polls, scoring ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party as voters punished the German leader over her liberal refugee policy.

The xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) clinched around 21 percent in its first bid for seats in the regional parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Vorpommern, results showed after most ballots were counted.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union garnered just 19 perecent percent in its worst ever score in the north-eastern state, while the Social Democrats maintained top place with around 30 percent.

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