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Germany’s Angela Merkel on course for 4th term

Exit polls on Sunday have shown that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have secured a fourth consecutive term in office.

The polls also showed that for the first time in more than 50 years, a far-right party will be represented in the German parliament.

Reuters reported that after shock results last year, from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, many look to Merkel to rally a bruised liberal Western order and lead a post-Brexit Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel’s conservative bloc – her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) – won 32.5 percent of the vote, making them by far the largest parliamentary group, according to an exit poll for the broadcaster ARD.

However, the CSU’s vote was down by about 9.5 per cent compared with  41.5 percent in the 2013 election.

Their closest rivals, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), slumped to 20.0 percent – a new post-war low. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) stunned the establishment by finishing third and entering parliament for the first time with 13.5 percent.

Merkel, Europe’s longest-serving leader, joins the late Helmut Kohl, her mentor who reunified Germany, and Konrad Adenauer, who led Germany’s rebirth after World War Two, as the only post-war chancellors to win four national elections.

She must now form a coalition government – an arduous process that could take months as all potential partners are unsure whether they really want to share power with her.

Merkel’s conservative bloc won 32.5 percent of the vote, making them the largest parliamentary group, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD indicated.

Support for their closest rivals, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) which are currently junior partners in a so-called “grand coalition” with Merkel, slumped to 20.0 percent – a new post-war low. The SPD ruled out a re-run of that tie-up.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) stunned the establishment by finishing third and entering parliament for the first time with 13.5 percent of the vote.

Merkel, Europe’s longest serving leader, joins the late Helmut Kohl, her mentor who reunified Germany, and Konrad Adenauer, who led Germany’s rebirth after World War Two, as the only post-war chancellors to win four national elections.

SPD deputy leader Manuela Schwesig said her party would now go into opposition. That would rule out a re-run of Merkel’s existing alliance with the SPD.

NAN


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