German election: Angela Merkel wins fourth term

Who’s who Federal election kicks off in Germany

Who’s who Federal election kicks off in Germany

The election represents a backwards step for Germany, though the result must be placed in the context of the rise in popularity of the far-right in many countries across the west.

Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union party secured 33 percent of the vote on Sunday, down about nine percent compared to the last election in 2013.

Merkel's conservative Christian Union (UDU/CSU) bloc, scored 32.9 per cent of the votes cast at the election, held on September 24, to clinch a record fourth tenure in office.

The AfD stunned the establishment by finishing third and entering parliament for the first time, with 13.5 percent of the vote. She said, there is a big new challenge for her coalition, and that is the entry of the AfD in the Bundestag.

She is seeking a fourth term in office and to keep her Christian Democrat party's (CDU) status as the largest presence in Germany's Bundestag.

SPD leader Martin Schulz said the results meant the end of the "grand coalition" with Merkel, calling Sunday a "bitter day" for Social Democrats.

With a fractured parliament of six parties, the process of forming a coalition government could take months.

Another big victor was the pro-business Free Democratic Party, which was set to return to parliament with 10.5% of the vote.

Merkel conceded that "of course we would have preferred a better result, that's completely clear". Her main rivals did just as badly and the main victor looks like Alternative for Germany (AfD), now Germany's no3 party.

AfD lead candidate Alexander Gauland, 76, said: "We've made it - we will change this country".

He also said that at the same time, if the Green Party entered a ruling coalition, particularly the Jamaica coalition also consisting of the CDU/CSU and the Free Democratic Party, then "it won't do any good to bilateral relations" because their leaders were highly critical of Russian Federation.

SPD deputy leader Manuela Schwesig has ruled out a re-run of Mrs Merkel's existing alliance with the party, confirming that her party will now go into opposition.

"I believe that this [the 2015 migration crisis] will not repeat in the same form", Merkel told a press conference, adding that "many measures were taken for this".

As Donald Trump continues to alienate allies, Merkel will increasingly be viewed as the leader of the Free World.

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