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News Brief — Sept 24, 2017

Angela Merkel. Click to enlarge

Exit polls suggest that Angela Merkel will win a fourth term in office but with a substantially reduced majority.
During the last election in 2013 Merkel’s Christian Democrats won just short of 42 percent of the vote. The exit polls in this year’s election indicate that the party’s share of the vote has slipped to around 32 percent.
Despite not having won a clear majority of the vote, compromises and political bargaining with other parties should ensure that Merkel is still be able to secure another term in office.
Having also suffered heavy losses in the polls, Merkel’s partners the SDP have ruled out another term in office as Coalition partners. Instead the party’s leader, Martin Schulz, has confirmed they are considering returning to the opposition. After working in coalition with Merkel has clearly hit support for the party.
“With tonight’s result, co-operation between CDU and the SPD is coming to end … We were all in agreement to become the biggest opposition party…
“This is another bitter hour in our history, but social democracy has survived and managed to show its strength – even when confronted with an extreme far-right party showing its ugly face”.
The SDP’s share of the overall vote dropped to little more than 20 percent, its lowest ever.
Although Merkel may still cling to power her showing in the election, and that of her Coalition partners, is being described by commentators as “disastrous”.
The real winners in the 2017 German elections appear to be the smaller parties, in particular the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany, the AfD. Exit polls indicate that the AfD has almost doubled its share of the vote bringing it up to almost 13 percent of the total counted.
This will make the AfD the third largest party in Germany, and put pressure on Merkel to forge alliances with the smaller opposition parties in order to shore up her hold on power.
The smaller, pro-business FDP party, Merkel’s favoured coalition partner, looks set to return to parliament after missing out in 2013 with a share of 10%, while the Green party won 9% and the left-wing Die Linke 9%.
There are 631 seats in the German parliament. After never having won any seat the AfD is projected to secure 87. Ed.
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