German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday 24 September 2017, won a fourth term in office with a projected 33% of the vote in federal elections, making it the largest party in the Bundestag with an estimated 218 seats.
Her close rival Martin Schulz of Social Democrats got around 21 percent of the vote and a projected 138 seats.
The far-right, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) made a historic breakthrough, winning 13.5% of the vote and projected 87 seats, becoming the first overtly nationalist party to sit in the Bundestag in 60 years.
The Christian Democrats’ score, sharply went 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.
Merkel said in her post-election speech that the CDU had hoped for a better result but had faced – referring to the 2015 migrant crisis – an “extraordinary challenge” and had still managed to remain Germany’s largest party. She pledged to listen to AfD voters and win back those she could with “good politics”.
The AfD promised “constructive opposition” in parliament but the Greens have already complained that “Nazis have returned to parliament”.
Under Merkel’s leadership, Germany opened its doors to about a million asylum seekers at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, prompting fierce criticism from the AfD leadership, who say her stance has had an unacceptably high fiscal, social and administrative cost.
Merkel campaigned on her record as chancellor for 12 years, emphasizing the country’s record-low unemployment, strong economic growth, balanced budget and growing international importance.
By TheGuardian, edited by Okuku.