Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats narrowly won Sunday’s national election, projected results showed, and claimed a “clear mandate” to lead a government for the first time since 2005 and to end 16 years of conservative-led rule under Angela Merkel, reported BBC.

The SPD secured 25.7 per cent of the vote, while the ruling conservative CDU/CSU bloc gained 24.1 per cent. The Greens achieved the best result in their party’s history, coming in third with 14.8 per cent of the ballot.

A coalition must now be created to form a government.


Agreeing to a new coalition could take months, and will likely involve the smaller Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP).

“We are ahead in all the surveys now,” the Social Democrats’ chancellor candidate, Olaf Scholz, said in a round table discussion with other candidates after the vote.

Scholz’s conservative rival Armin Laschet signalled his bloc was not ready yet to concede, though his supporters were subdued.

“It is an encouraging message and a clear mandate to make sure that we get a good, pragmatic government for Germany,” he added after earlier addressing jubilant SPD supporters.

Scholz, 63, would become the fourth post-war SPD chancellor after Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Gerhard Schroeder. Finance minister in Merkel’s cabinet, he is a former mayor of Hamburg.

Attention will now shift to informal discussions followed by more formal coalition negotiations which could take months, leaving Merkel in charge of a caretaker role.

Scholz and Laschet both said they would aim to strike a coalition deal before Christmas.

Merkel plans to step down after the election, making the vote an era-changing event to set the future course of Europe’s largest economy.