Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has clinched a fourth term in office through general elections, while the hard-right AfD party has also won its first seats in parliament.
According to latest results from Sunday general elections, Merkel has won around 33 percent of the vote with her conservative Christian Union (CDU/CSU) bloc, AFP reported.
Merkel was followed by the Social Democrats and their candidate, Martin Schulz, who ended second by scoring about 20-21 percent of the vote. Schulz announced after elections that his party will serve as the opposition following Sunday’s general elections.
Exit polls also showed that in a surprising turn of events the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) has captured around 13 percent of the vote, which made it the country's third biggest political party and enabled it to enter Germany’s parliament for the first time.
A recent poll, conducted by the INSA institute for the local Bild daily, showed sliding support for CDU by two percentage points to 34 percent, and the SPD, down by one point to 21 percent. The hard-right AfD rose by two percentage points to 13 percent.
The 63-year-old Merkel saw a decline in her approval ratings over the past two years, mainly due to a decision at the beginning of 2015 to allow hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany. However, her success in controlling the refugee inflow and her message that the German economy needs to be rendered fit for the future by investing in digital technologies seem to have won hearts in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.
The AfD, a nationalist, anti-Islam party, has hugely capitalized on Merkel’s fall in several states.