Sep 25, 2017

Election explainer: what happened in the German election?

Angela Merkel has retained the Chancellorship -- just -- and faces a series of challenges in the months ahead.

Charlie Lewis — Journalist

Charlie Lewis


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has held on to win a fourth term as leader of her country. But the conservative Christian Democratic Union of Germany and Christian Social Union bloc that she leads suffered many blows -- a humbling slump in her vote and a surge in support for the far right -- that will temper any celebrations. Merkel is considered Europe's most powerful political and a key bulwark against the influence of Vladimir Putin; what does this election mean for her, Germany, and Europe?

How did it break down?

In concert with many elections around the world in the previous couple of years: mainstream parties saw their vote shares plummet, with fringe populist parties mopping up the difference. In this case the CDU/CSU bloc secured 238 seat with 32.9% of the vote -- down nearly 10% from 2013, and their worst result since 1949. It was even worse for their main rival, the Social Democrats who slumped to just over 20% -- their worst performance since 1933. And, to use one of the more ominous phrases available to humans, speaking of things that haven't happened in Germany since the 1930s...

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