BERLIN — A senior aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging unity in the German leader’s conservative bloc amid recriminations over an embarrassing state election performance.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union was beaten into third place by the nationalist, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany in Sunday’s vote in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where Merkel has her parliamentary constituency.

The Bavarian branch of Merkel’s Union bloc, the Christian Social Union, has long criticized her approach to the migrant crisis. CSU leader Horst Seehofer complained Monday his “repeated demand for a change of course” wasn’t heeded and sought a “clarification” of policies by October.

CDU general secretary Peter Tauber pointed to forthcoming votes including a state election in Berlin Sept. 18. He said Tuesday: “Our supporters and members … expect one thing above all of the Union: unity.”