Germany election: Angela Merkel wins fourth term

Sep 25, 2017, 00:23
Germany election: Angela Merkel wins fourth term

Angela Merkel is set to win a fourth term in Germany's general election on Sunday, where polls closed roughly half an hour ago at 6 p.m. She said Germany has to take the fears of its people seriously.

Public television ARD put support for Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc at 33 percent, down from 41.5 percent in the last federal election in 2013. It was one of their weakest postwar showings. "We will bring back our nation", Gauland said.

Smaller parties were the chief beneficiaries of the erosion in support for Germany's traditionally dominant parties - above all the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, whose support was just over 13 per cent.

Germany in particular is coping with the arrival of more than 1 million refugees and other new migrants, with tension with Russian Federation since Moscow's incursions into Ukraine, and with doubt about Europe's future since Britain voted to quit the EU.

"This is a big day in our party's history. We have entered the Bundestag and we will change this country", Gauland said.

Big cheers went up at AfD's election party after exit polls showed them finishing in third place.

Merkel, 63, whose campaign events were regularly disrupted by jeering AfD supporters, said in her final stump speech in the southern city of Munich that "the future of Germany will definitely not be built with whistles and hollers".

The party's entry into the national parliament heralds the beginning of a new era in German politics that will see more robust debate and a departure from the steady, consensus-based approach that has marked the post-war period.

Outside, hundreds of anti-AfD protesters shouted "all Berlin hates the AfD", "Nazi pigs", and other slogans, while several protesters threw bottles as police kept them away from the building. The party, led by challenger Martin Schulz, vowed immediately to leave Merkel's coalition government and go into opposition.

The socialist Left Party also managed to slightly increase its support, reaching 9 percent.

"This is a hard and bitter day for German social democracy", a grim-faced Schulz, a former European Parliament chief, told reporters, adding that he hoped to remain party leader.

After shock election results past year, from the Brexit vote to the election of US President Donald Trump, leaders of Europe's establishment have looked to Merkel to rally the liberal Western order.

The chancellor made it clear that she would prefer to not form a minority government, at a time of major worldwide and domestic challenges.

Without the SPD, Merkel's only straightforward path to a majority in parliament would be a three-way tie-up with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, known as a " Jamaica" coalition because the black, yellow and green colours of the three parties match the Jamaican flag.

The Left Party is incompatible with the conservatives and all others have voted not to work with AfD.

"For us it is very clear that the voters have given us the task of going ahead as the strongest party in opposition", said Manuela Schwesig, a deputy party leader. He accused Merkel of conducting a "scandalous" campaign that systematically avoided contentious issues and "created a vacuum" that AfD filled.

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