SPD edges out Merkel's center-right Union; German parties must now negotiate a coalition as alliances shift after 16 years of Merkel and the CDU

Germany’s center-left Social Democrats narrowly defeated the center-right Union bloc of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, but fell far short of an outright majority, taking only 206 seats in the 735-seat Bundestag, while Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their partner the Christian Social Union took only 196 seats.

Olaf Scholz, the candidate of the center-left Social Democrats, called for Merkel’s Union bloc to go into opposition after it saw its worst-ever result in a national election. Both parties are now seeking to build a coalition that can run the country, leaving the balance of power in the  hands of the Greens, with 118 seats, and the Free Democrats, with 92 seats.

During her 16 years in office, Merkel was seen abroad not just as Germany’s leader but in many ways as the leader of Europe, helping steer the European Union through a series of financial and political crises.

© Copyright LaPresse