German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on course for a fourth term in office against the backdrop of a surge in support for the far-right, exit polls in the German election suggest.
Merkel’s CDU party and its sister CSU are predicted to be the largest in the German parliament, the Bundestag, with 33.5% of the seats. The CDU’s coalition partner, the SPD, fell to 21%, a result met with shock at the party’s headquarters.
Alternative for Germany (AfD) is predicted to become the first far-right party to win seats in the Bundestag since 1960, with about 13% of seats, according to FORSA polling institute data commissioned by German public broadcaster ZDF.
Merkel said the result gave her a “mandate” to govern but that the AfD result would require “thorough analysis” to understand the concerns of their voters.
Addressing her supporters, Merkel pledged to try and understand the concerns of voters who lent their support to the AfD.
“There’s a big new challenge for us, and that is the entry of the AfD in the Bundestag,” she said.