Sooo Angela Merkel won a fourth term a
s German Chancellor, but with her party's lead in parliament cut down and the country facing a surge in support for the far right.
Addressing her supporters, Merkel said the result gave her a "mandate" to govern but that the AfD's success would require "thorough analysis" to understand the concerns of their voters.
Preliminary results showed Merkel's CDU/CSU group would be the largest in the Bundestag, but with its lead cut to 33.5% of the seats, down from 41.5% in 2013. The SPD fell to 21.6% from 25.7%, a result met with shock at the party's headquarters. It was the CDU's worst result since 1949, and the SPD's worst since 1945.
The hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) becomes the third-largest group in the national parliament, the Bundestag, as German voters delivered a stinging blow to the traditional parties. Merkel's center-right CDU and its sister CSU had their share of the vote slashed. Germany's oldest party, the center-left SPD, which had been in a "grand coalition" with Merkel, was consigned to opposition.