Philip Sime

Merkel limps to victory as AfD surges in German elections

Merkel limps to victory as AfD surges in German elections
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Angela Merkel has won, for the fourth time, but on her party's worst election result since 1949. Her main rivals did just as badly and the main winner looks like Alternative for Germany (AfD), now Germany's no3 party. Here's the national picture:

[caption id="attachment_9940622" align="aligncenter" width="620"]

The exit poll from Germany's election[/caption]

So the centre-left Social Democratic Party is heading for just 20pc, its worst result since the Second World War.  Martin Schulz, SPD leader, said it has been “a difficult and bitter day for German social democracy”. By which he means that AfD are set to break through into the Bundestag with 13.5 per cent of the vote, a result that differs sharply in east and west. In the former East Germany, AfD is the second-largest party with 22pc of the vote. Here's how the vote looks like in east and west Germany.

Amongst men in the east, AfD came first - an astonishing rise, considering where it was four years ago. The FT has compiled a useful graphic of the movement. Look at the blue arrow on the right.

Early analysis suggests a quarter of AfD's voters abstained in the last election. So this will be the first time in more than half a century that a far-right party has taken seats in the German parliament. Marine Le Pen seems delighted, hailing "a new symbol of the revival of the European peoples".

Bravo à nos alliés de l’#AfD pour ce score historique ! C’est un nouveau symbole du réveil des peuples européens. MLP #BTW2017

— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) September 24, 2017

The AfD success has already led protests in Cologne and Berlin, and shock throughout the continent. Pierre Moscovici, an EU Commissioner, says that its the result reveals "doubts" in German society. Like many people tonight, he's talking about 1933 - if only to say that we shouldn't be talking about 1933.

L'entrée de l'AfD au Bundestag est un choc et révèle des doutes dans la société. La démocratie allemande est forte. Pas d'amalgame avec 1933

— Pierre Moscovici (@pierremoscovici) September 24, 2017

Merkel has admitted that she had ‘hoped for a better result’ and now faces the arduous task of forming a coalition with the Greens and the Free Democrats (assuming the SPD is true to it promise not to enter a ‘grand coalition’). This will prevent the AfD from becoming the Bundestag’s official party of opposition. As a result, Germany looks like it could be heading for a ‘Jamaica coalition’, so-called as the colours of the CDU, Green Party, and Free Democratic Party resemble the Jamaican flag.