Highlights

  • Germany's Social Democrats narrowly won Sunday's national election
  • Merkel's center-right bloc Heading toward its worst-ever result
  • Germany's business-friendly Free Democrats may play kingmaker

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Germany: End of Angela Merkel's 16-yr rule as her party loses to Centre-Left bloc

Heading toward its worst-ever result in the country's parliamentary election, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right bloc was locked in a very close race with the Social Democrats.

Germany's Social Democrats narrowly won Sunday's national election, projected results showed. The Centre-Left party claimed a "clear mandate" to lead a government for the first time since 2005 and to end 16 years of conservative-led rule under Angela Merkel.

Heading toward its worst-ever result in the country's parliamentary election, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right bloc was locked in a very close race with the Social Democrats.

Top officials from both parties said they hope to lead Germany's next government and have their candidates succeed Merkel, who has been in power since 2005.

Projections from ARD public television, based on exit polls and early counting, put voters' support at 25.5% for the Social Democrats, whose candidate for chancellor is outgoing Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The polls showed 24.5% for Merkel's Union bloc under would-be successor Armin Laschet.

Germany's business-friendly Free Democrats are projected to win about 12% of the vote in Sunday's election and may play the role of the kingmaker.

The Free Democrats' leader, Christian Lindner, indicated a preference for a potential coalition with outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc, but didn't rule out other alliances.

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