Merkel hails victory in Germany vote
Voters enabled Chancellor Angela Merkel to form a politically comfortable 'center-right' coalition with the pro-business, tax-cutting Free Democratic Party (FDP).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's dull but durable strategy of "no-surprises, no-conflicts" earned her party the best possible outcome in German elections tonight – with voters enabling her to form a politically comfortable "center-right" coalition with the pro-business, tax-cutting Free Democratic Party (FDP), from which she can govern from a position of relative strength, despite evident polarization between right and left in Germany.
"We accomplished something amazing ... a sustainable majority ... for a new coalition ..., " said Merkel, adding: "I want to be the chancellor for all Germans ... at a moment of crisis."
The outcome marks the end of the "grand-coalition" between Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Party and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD), which will leave the government of Europe's largest economy after 11 years.
Indeed, the SPD showing of 23 percent was a sharp blow to the proud, 160-year-old party, its lowest score since World War II – and a continuation of a season of setbacks for the left around Europe. "These are catastrophic numbers for the SPD," notes Jan Techau of the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin.