German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have suffered a stunning defeat in national elections, with their worst result in decades and further weaken her hand ahead of key coalition talks.
The result puts her party on course for their worst ever result, as voters shun them over Merkel’s plans to expand Germany’s role in the NATO military alliance.
Merkel has urged all sides in the country’s post-election crisis to come together and avert a political crisis.
The coalition of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and environmentalist Greens won just 19.9% of the vote, which works out to a loss of 33 seats in the outgoing parliament. That gives the coalition a slim majority.
The Social Democrats (SPD), the natural junior partner for Merkel’s coalition but now with more pressure to challenge her position, missed their target of winning about 34% of the vote, registering 25.5% instead.
Merkel’s party, which has governed Germany for the past four years, came third, with 20.6%. It has traditionally filled the third-place role in coalitions and, after the election, has been widely seen as the most likely successor to Merkel.
Swing in Berlin
Germany’s capital also produced an unexpected result, with the Greens attracting more than 20% of the vote to beat the SPD and the FDP and come third, followed by the Communists.
It marks a reversal of the last polls in April, which showed the FDP and Greens floundering and the Social Democrats far behind.
The surprising result was down to voters in Berlin, who rejected the party with traditional left-wing baggage, in favor of the alternatives, the SDP and the Greens.
Margarete Seewald, an anthropologist at Goethe University, told CNN that Berlinians had been hit hard by the refugee crisis, noting that the city was the country’s second-most populous after Berlin itself.