Germany election: Angela Merkel wins fourth term

Far-right party wins seats in German parliament for first time in decades

Projections show Merkel's conservative Union bloc finishing first in Sunday's election but well short of its election results in 2013.

- No coalitions are practically viable without Merkel's CDU taking the lead.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has claimed a mandate to form a new German government with her conservative bloc.

"Of course we would have preferred a better result", Merkel said, according to The Associated Press.

The CDU (Christian Democratic Union) received between 32 and 34 percent of the votes and is poised to form the largest faction in the German parliament, preliminary forecasts show. It was one of their weakest postwar showings. "We will hunt Ms. Merkel".

AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland vowed that "we will take our country back" and promised to "chase" Merkel.

Smaller parties were the chief beneficiaries of the erosion in support for Germany's traditionally dominant parties - above all the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, whose support was just over 13 per cent.

While the anti-immigrant AfD is set to pick up its first seats, Merkel put to bed much of the criticism of her immigration policy by brokering a deal with Turkey in 2016 that partly stemmed the flow of migrants into Europe, and toughened up German asylum rules, while promising to explore a ban on Muslim face veils in some circumstances. "We must respond to the AfD voters and those people who clearly feel misunderstood", she said.

"This is a big day in our party's history".

Crowds of people have in the meantime gathered in front of the AfD HQ in Berlin, carrying banners reading "Racism kills" and chanting "Go away".

Last January, one of AfD's prominent eastern German leaders, Bjoern Hoecke, called the Holocaust Memorial the "memorial of shame and suggested Germans should "make a 180-degree turn in their politics of commemoration".

XI beat Pakistan by 7 wickets in 2nd T-20
But Perera took charge in the last five overs as he cut loose against Pakistan seamers Shoaib Malik and Rumman Raees. Badree (2-31), Perera (2-23 of three overs) and Tahir (1-29 of three) were the prominent World XI bowlers.

- The pro-business Free Democrats return to parliament, after missing the cut for the first time since the war last time around.

The SPD also found it hard to shine after four years as the junior partner in Merkel's grand coalition, marked by broad agreement on major issues, from foreign policy to migration.

"In a country that is big on schadenfreude, our comeback is an encouraging message - after failure, a new beginning is possible", party leader Christian Lindner told supporters.

The socialist Left Party also managed to slightly increase its support, reaching 9 percent.

"This is a bitter defeat for the SPD, and at the same time it's a historic watershed in our democracy", Thomas Oppermann, the Social Democrats' caucus chairman, said on ARD television.

"We have suffered a crushing election defeat", Schulz said. "For us it's clear that we'll go into opposition as demanded by the voter".

Meanwhile, the AfD, a far-right nationalist, anti-Islam party, was on track to win 13.5%, emerging as Germany's third-strongest party. However, a repeat of the current "Grand Coalition" with the Social Democrats is not the chancellor's only option.

Without the SPD, Merkel's only straightforward path to a majority in parliament would be a three-way tie-up with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, known as a " Jamaica" coalition because the black, yellow and green colours of the three parties match the Jamaican flag.

The other parties elected to the Bundestag all refuse to work with the AfD, which says it will press for Merkel to be " severely punished" for opening the door to refugees and migrants. This will grant the party its first ever seats in the federal parliament since its formation in 2013. It helped the four-year-old party siphon off many conservative Merkel supporters as well as voters in the former communist eastern Germany, where unemployment tends to be higher and incomes lower than the German average.

"It is particularly important that we close this flank with. clear political positions", he said.

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