Merkel Hangs On For Fourth Term But Far-Right Has Historic Night

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance has won a fourth term in power, election exit polls suggest, but will face a more volatile parliament after the far-right made historic gains.

Merkel’s bloc of the Christian Democratic Party and the Bavarian-only Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) won between 32.5 percent and 33.5 percent of the vote in the September 24 national elections, according to polls conducted for public television channels ARD and ZDF.

If confirmed, the numbers are the worst result for the CDU/CSU alliance under Merkel’s 12-year leadership.

The polls indicated that the bloc’s outgoing coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD) led by Martin Schulz, garnered between 20 percent and 21 percent support — a post-World War II low.

They also suggested that the far-right, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) emerged as Germany’s third-strongest party with 13 percent to 13.5 percent support.

The rise of the AfD comes after shock election results last year, from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, where nationalist and anti-immigrant parties made major gains.

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