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    Workers remove an election campaign billboards showing Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democratic Party SPD leader and top candidate Martin Schulz, the day after the general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany September 25, 2017

    Germany Reacts to Historic Kicking Given to Main Parties in General Election

    © REUTERS / Christian Mang
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    General Election in Germany 2017 (40)

    Germany's elections have send shockwaves through the political establishment as the main parties recorded their worst results since the immediate postwar era.

    Germans went to the polls on Sunday to elect representatives to the national parliament, the Bundestag. Turnout was 76.2 percent, in comparison with 71.5% in 2013.

    ​​According to preliminary results, smaller parties have won scores of seats at the expense of Germany's main parties, which suffered their worst result since the 1940's.

    ​"The worst election result for the CDU/CSU since 1949, and the SPD since 1945. See you, Mrs. Merkel," wrote the local Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the district of Zwickau, Saxony-Anhalt.

    The anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic AfD is now the strongest party in Saxony-Anhalt, and took 12.6% of the vote nationally. ​​However, AfD leader Frauke Petry made a surprise announcement that she is not going to take one of the party's seats in the Bundestag.

    ​​The entry of the AfD into the Bundestag was greeted by angry demonstrations in Berlin, who oppose the party's anti-immigrant policy.

    ​The Free Democratic Party (FDP), a liberal party, re-entered the Bundestag after breaking the 5% hurdle. This barrier prevents parties from sitting in parliament unless they get more than 5% of the vote. This time FDP came fourth, with 10.7% of the vote.

    "Great result for the Free Democrats — in the Bundestag again with over 10% of the vote. It's possible to win elections with the political center!"

    The biggest losers were the main parties. Although Angela Merkel won a fourth term as Chancellor, her Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) grouping took 33.9% of the vote, down 8.6% in comparison with 2013. Martin Schulz's Social Democratic Party (SPD) took 20.5%, down 5.2%.  

    ​As the first exit polls came in, Schulz announced that the SPD won't take part in another "Grand Coalition" with the CDU/CSU. He vowed to "defend democracy" in opposition to the CDU-led government.

    ​As a consequence, Merkel is tipped to form a so-called "Jamaica Coalition," made up of the CDU, which is associated with the color black, the yellow FDP and the Greens.

    General Election in Germany 2017 (40)


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