Merkel, FDP win German election

Monday, September 28, 2009

Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel and her preferred partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), claimed victory in the German general election in Berlin on Sunday.

The two parties are expected to form a new coalition government.

Merkel's conservative party, the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), and the FDP jointly won 48.3 percent of votes in the general election, assuring a clear majority win to form a new coalition government, the latest exit poll results said.

"We have achieved our goals," said Merkel when addressing supporters at the CDU headquarters in Berlin.

"Chancellor is a chancellor for all Germans," Merkel said, however, noting that there were lots of problems ahead for her new government to resolve.

According to the latest exit poll results, the CDU/CSU picked up 33.9 percent of the votes, while the FDP earned 14.4 percent, the best ever performance by the pro-business party.

The combined votes indicate that the two parties booked around 323 seats in the 598-seat parliament, boasting a clear majority to put an end to the current "grand coalition" government and form a black-yellow coalition for the next four years.

The latest exit poll results showed that the Social Democrats (SPD) earned only 23.4 percent of the votes, the lowest since World War II. The second party in German politics will have to turn into an opposition after 11 years in the federal government.

The SPD's candidate for chancellory, Vice Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier, admitted defeat soon after the exit polls were released. "It is a bitter day for SPD," he said at the SPD headquarters in Berlin, with tears in his eyes.

He said Sunday's election was a "defeat" for the SPD after hard campaigning. He extended thanks to supporters.

The latest exit polls said the Greens got 10 percent of votes while the Left Party took 12.2 percent.

The turnout of Sunday's election stood at 71.2 percent, lower than previous election turnout of 77.7 percent in 2005.

In most cases in Germany, the exit poll results are close to final official results.

In the follow-up process, leaders from the CDU/CSU and the FDP are expected to hold negotiations on the details on forming a new centreright coalition government.