Merkel Faces Tough Choice After Germany Election Result

She hopes to form new government—by Christmas
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2017 5:37 AM CDT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a board meeting of the Christian Democratic Union in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, the day after the German parliament election.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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(Newser) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance won the most seats in Germany's election on Sunday, meaning she will keep her job for a fourth term—but it was her party's worst showing since 1949 and the process of forming a new government could drag into next year. Merkel and her Christian Democrats now have to decide whether to form a coalition or try to govern with a minority of seats in the Bundestag, the Guardian reports. The center-left Social Democrats also had its worst showing since 1949, while smaller parties had their best results ever. Merkel is now expected to try to form a coalition with the pro-business FDP and the Green Party, though there is very little that those two parties agree on.

Merkel says she hopes talks will result in a coalition government by Christmas, but analysts worry that it will not last for long. "The weak result could make Angela Merkel a lame duck much faster than international observers and financial markets think," ING economist Carsten Brzesk tells Reuters. The party that made the biggest gains was the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany, which will become the first party of its kind in the Bundestag in almost 60 years. With around 13% of the vote, it is now the country's third-strongest party. Der Spiegel predicts that its strength means Merkel has years of "clashes, provocations, and scandalous rhetoric" ahead of her.

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