Angela Merkel re-elected - but far-right AfD advances

Alternative fur Deutschland surged into third place with 13% of the vote

German chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term as German chancellor
(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Angela Merkel has been returned to power, securing her fourth term as German Chancellor in yesterday's general election.

Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrat-led alliance secured 33% of the vote, 12 points ahead of her main rivals, Martin Schulz’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), which secured around 21% of the vote.

The SPD result is the worst for the party since 1949, prompting Schulz to declare an end to the “grand coalition” with Merkel’s party, and a promise his party would now sit in opposition to the Chancellor.

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The far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) secured 13% of the vote to become the third-biggest party in the country. It's the first time in more than 50 years that an openly nationalist party will be represented in the German parliament.

“AfD’s propulsion into parliament just four years into its existence gives the country its first far-right force on the national stage since 1961, and a faction with the most substantial presence of rightwing extremists since the Nazi era,” The Guardian says.

Clipped wings

The result is “disastrous” for Merkel, despite her win, says BBC Berlin correspondent Jenny Hill. “The chancellor is being punished … for opening Germany's door to almost 900,000 undocumented refugees and migrants,” Hill says.

With the SPD’s withdrawal from the ruling coalition, Merkel is faced with the task of building new partnerships to form a government, a task that could take months of delicate negotiations.

Merkel said: “Today we can say that we now have a mandate to assume responsibility and we're going to assume this responsibility calmly, talking with our partners, of course.”

Inforgraphic provided for The Week by Statista

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