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article imageAngela Merkel wins third term as German chancellor

By Ken Hanly     Sep 22, 2013 in Politics
Berlin - Angela Merkel has won a third term in Sunday's election (Sept. 22) . The Conservative bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) together with the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) together polled about 42 per cent of the vote in exit polls.
Although this is the best result for the two Conservative groups in decades, Merkel still might be forced into a coalition with the center-left SPD. One party in her center-right coalition, the Free Democrats (FDP) a business-friendly party appeared to have just 4.7 per cent of the vote less than the 5 per cent needed to remain within the parliament. At the same time the new eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany (AFD) was at 4.9 per cent in the polls close to enough to enter the Bundestag.
The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) polled 26 per cent, the Greens 8 per cent and the Left Party 8.5 per cent. The three together received about the same level of support as Merkel's two conservative groups. Unless Merkel manages a majority or the FDP has an unlikely surge in the final tally, she will probably need to form a coalition with the SPD. She ruled with the SDP from 2005-2009. If the SDP do enter a coalition they will probably demand more leftist policies on wages and tax hikes for the richest Germans.
Merkel hailed what she called a "super result" and promised that together we will do everything in the next four years to again make them successful years for Germany". Dr. Marcel Lewandowski, from Helmut Schmidt University, told Al Jazeera that the CDU and its center-left rival the SPD may again be forced into a coalition: "It seems like both parties know that they have to form a grand coalition. It even seems like the SPD had made peace with that."
Compared to other countries in the Eurozone, the German economy has seen falling unemployment numbers and a relatively strong economy. However, the SPD's candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbruck, criticized Merkel's government for the rise in inequality and its harshness towards heavily indebted eurozone countries such as Greece.
Some voters were disillusioned with all the major parties. Michael Stark a bicycle vendor in Berlin said that the major parties were "all pirates, all pigs". He complained there was no national minimum wage and there were high poverty rates. However, Merkel remains a popular and effective politician. As a German news agency put it: Merkel's intuition for power, her tactic and strategic skills and her talent for adaptation have made her one of Germany's and Europe's most significant contemporary politicians.
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