German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term while nationalists have made a historic surge in federal elections.
Merkel’s conservatives beat their rivals on Sunday to win her a fourth term in an election that brought a far-right party into Germany’s parliament for the first time in more than half a century.
Addressing supporters, Mrs Merkel, who has been in the job for 12 years, said she had hoped for a “better result”.
Stressing that “we live in stormy times” internationally, Merkel declared: “I have the intention of achieving a stable government in Germany.”
She added that she would listen to the “concerns, worries and anxieties” of voters of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in order to win them back.
Mrs Merkel also said her government would have to deal with economic and security issues as well as addressing the root causes of migration – one of the main reasons behind the AfD’s result.
“Today we can say that we now have a mandate to assume responsibility and we’re going to assume this responsibility calmly, talking with our partners of course.”
The relatively new comer, Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) won its first seats and is set to be the third party, a result that sparked some protests.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the right-wing, anti-Islam party’s headquarters in Berlin on Sunday night, some with placards saying “Refugees are welcome”.
Protests were also held in several other cities, including Frankfurt and Cologne.
Christian Democrat (CDU) secured 32.9 per cent of the votes, according to reports monitored on NTV, trouncing its closest rival, the Social Democratic Party, SPD, which got 20.8 per cent of the votes cast.
AfD, with the reputation of being the third largest party in Germany, got 13.0 per cent of the votes cast, while Die Linke (The Left) got 9.0 per cent, Green 9.0 per cent and Sonstige 4.9 per cent.
In order to be allocated a seat, a party must gain at least five per cent of the national votes.
Details of the results will be formally announced by the German electoral body on Monday.
Sunday’s election left Merkel’s bloc weakened — with only 246 of the new parliament’s 709 seats. However, the result leaves no other party able to lead a new government, and Merkel herself lacks any obvious internal challenger.