German Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s has won the mandate to form Germany’s central government for a fourth consecutive term in office.
The polls showed that for the first time in more than 50 years, a far-right party will be represented in the German parliament.
The Christian Democrats’ score, sharply down on the 41% of the vote it collected in the previous 2013 elections, was widely seen as disappointing and is likely to leave Merkel diminished on the domestic political stage.
Her main rivals (and outgoing coalition partners), Martin Schulz’s Social Democrat SPD, crashed to just over 20% and a projected 138 seats. Within an hour of the first exit poll.
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.