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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 hailed her electoral win after exit polls in Sunday's general election showed that she had secured enough votes to form a new center-right coalition with the pro-business Free Democratic Party.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

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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.

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