BERLIN (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition suffered a major blow in Berlin's state vote Sunday, exit polls suggested, weakening her politically as Europe looks to her to fight its debt crisis. Merkel's conservatives were beaten into second place by the opposition Social Democrats, while her coalition partners, the Free Democrats, failed to scrape over the five-percent hurdle needed to enter the state parliament. Winning the election hands down with 29.5 percent of the vote, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the German capital's popular mayor Klaus Wowereit must now choose a coalition partner in the city-state of 3.5 million. Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) scored 23.5 percent of the vote, according to exit polls published by ARD television. In a small comfort for Merkel and her conservatives, this represented an improvement compared to the 21.3 percent scored during the last Berlin election in 2006. But her junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), continued to leak support, gaining 2.0 percent of the vote compared to 7.6pc five years ago. The Pirate Party, an irreverent outfit with roots in Scandinavia, which calls for free wireless Internet service for all, unlimited access to public transportation funded by taxes and better data protection, won 8.5 percent.