An exit poll on Sunday evening showed that Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc will be the largest party in the next German parliament, but early indications point to a worse-than-expected majority for the German chancellor.
Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU) won 32.5 percent of the vote, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD indicated. It would make them the largest parliamentary group, but that is down from 41.5 percent in the last election in 2013 and lower than recent polling.
The center-left Social Democrats (SPD), which are currently in a coalition with Merkel, slumped to 20.0 percent – a new post-war low, according to Reuters.
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) look to have finished third and will likely enter parliament for the first time with an indicated 13.5 percent of the vote.
Official results will start to trickle in through the night and a definitive final election result could take until Tuesday. Merkel’s conservative bloc will then look to form a coalition with rival parties which could take months, according to some analysts.
Germany’s complex electoral system means that coalition governments tend to be the norm in the country. The Bundestag must convene within 30 days of the vote but government formation could take up to 100 days.
If Merkel’s party manages to successfully form a coalition then she herself must be elected as chancellor with an absolute majority by the Bundestag’s members at a later date. The candidate for chancellor is from the party that wins the most votes.
—Reuters contributed to this report.
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