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.
Merkel’s conservative bloc – her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) – won 32.5 percent of the vote, making them by far the largest parliamentary group, according to an exit poll for the broadcaster ARD.
However, the CSU’s vote was down by about 9.5 per cent compared with 41.5 percent in the 2013 election.
Their closest rivals, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), slumped to 20.0 percent – a new post-war low.
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.
She must now form a coalition government – an arduous process that could take months as all potential partners are unsure whether they really want to share power with her.