28 Sep 2009

Merkel exultant as Germans re-elect her government

4:23 pm on 28 September 2009

Re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling her party's Sunday election victory a great triumph.

The BBC reports that she told supporters they'd achieved "something magnificent", and she wanted to be a chancellor of all Germans at a moment of crisis.

Mrs Merkel says that the priority of her second term in office will be to restore prosperity to Germany, Europe's largest economy, after the worst recession since the Second World War.

Projections by national broadcasters, based on partial vote counts and exit polls, gave her Christian Democrat CDU/CSU bloc 33% of the vote, with the Social Democrat SPD at about 23% - its worst result since 1945.

The Free Democrats (FDP) got 15%, the Left 12% and the Greens 10%.

Back to business as usual for traditional partners

Analysts say that the combined vote of 48% for the CDU and FDP should allow them to form a stable majority government. The preferred outcome for both parties, it signals the end of the "grand coalition" between Mrs Merkel and the Social Democrats since 2005.

She says the alliance will get Germany out of its worst crisis in 60 years. The new goverment is expected to cut taxes in an attempt to boost growth.

SPD leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier called it a "bitter day" but said that he would not be resigning and that his party would be "vigilant in opposition".

Ironically, the CDU's 33% is its worst result since 1949. The turnout was low, and both main parties lost support to the smaller ones. The FDP did exceptionally well, going from 10% at the last election to 15% this time.