Merkel wins re-election as far-right AfD enters parliament

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Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative block won Germany’s federal election on Sunday, exit polls showed, but the alliance will lose dozens of seats while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) enters parliament for the first time.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), won 32.9 percent in Sunday’s election, making them by far the largest parliamentary group but representing a drop of 8.6 percent when compared to 2013.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former European Parliament President Martin Schulz, won 20.6 percent of the vote, a drop of 5.1 percent to take them to their lowest level since 1949. The anti-immigrant AfD party won 13 percent, an increase of 8.3 percent and allowing them to enter the Bundestag for the first time.

The results mean that Merkel has secured a fourth consecutive term in office, even though her alliance will require new partners to form a coalition in parliament. The SPD, which is a coalition partner in the current parliament, announced on Sunday that it has no plans to join Merkel in another coalition.

Sunday’s exit polls suggest that the CDU/CSU alliance will have about 239 seats of the Bundestag’s 598 seats. They are followed by the SPD with 150 seats, AfD with 93 seats, the Free Democrats (FDP) party with 77 seats, the Greens with 65 seats, and The Left with 66 seats.

Before Sunday, a coalition between the CDU/CSU alliance and SPD was seen as one of the most likely options and would have maintained the status quo. But with the SPD having ruled out that option, experts now predict a so-called “Jamaica coalition.”

This coalition would include the CDU/CSU alliance, the pro-business Free Democrats, and the Greens to provide a clear majority in parliament. It is referred to as the “Jamaica coalition” because the colors of the parties are also found in the flag of Jamaica.

Carsten Nickel, deputy director of research at Teneo Intelligence, told CNBC earlier this week that talks to finalize such a coalition could take time. “Talks could be prolonged and governance noisy given the two small parties’ competition for the same constituency and the conflicts between CSU and the Greens on issues such as migration,” he said.

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