German federal election 2013: results

: times are local (GMT+2)

At 19:20

At 19:20 local time, the projected results of the German federal election point to something unexpected: a possible overall majority for the Christian Union parties by winning 42.5% of the vote. Naturally it is not over until all the votes are counted, and a change in a few tenths of one percentage in the share of the vote for parties can still change the arithematic. This astonishing outcome is the result of a clear victory by the Christian Union parties and also due to both the Free Democrats (FDP) and Alternative for Germany (AfD) failing to clear the 5% hurdle to send members to the parliament: currently, the FDP’s share of the vote is projected to be at 4.6% and AfD at 4.9%, according to the respective projections by the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. Taking the figures of the latest projections published by ARD, the total for those parties not reaching 5% amounts to 15.9% of the total share of the vote, therefore reducing the share of the vote required for a majority to 42.05%.

AfD was probably the protest party of the election, a little like the Pirate Party in the state elections in the past couple of years. The political narrative in Germany would change in a way that the Pirate Party would not have done, if the euro-sceptic AfD were to manage to obtain a minimum of 5%, with a huge repercussion for the eurozone. That the FDP seems to have failed to clear the 5% hurdle is historic, as this party has been a constant presence in the German parliament in the post-war period. It looks like the FDP lost votes to the Christian Union parties and to AfD. While the Greens and the Left are back in the parliament, their respective shares of the vote dropped. There would be analyses as to whom they have lost their votes: it looks like the Greens lost some of their support to the Christian Union parties, and the Left to the Social Democrats (SPD). The SPD improved their share of the vote, but it is still the second-worst result, and the Christian Union parties have pulled ahead and widened the gap.

At 22:00

The latest projections at around 22:00 local time suggest that the Christian Union parties have not managed to obtain an overall majority on their own, and the figures for other parties have stabilized, and it does seem more or less definite that neither the FDP nor AfD will be in the parliament. Even if the Christian Union parties do not obtain an overall majority, this is a clear victory for Mrs Merkel personally as well as for her party: she has won three elections, this time convincgly and crushingly, and she will probably serve the full term and perhaps more, thus occupying the position of the chancellor for at least 12 years. When she became the chancellor in 2005, the president of the US was George W. Bush, the prime minister in Britain was Tony Blair, and the president in France was Jacques Chirac. This list of names sounds like something from a bygone era. Given her chancellorship has and will have covered the period of the eurozone crises, it will no doubt be remembered as a crucial time in office in the history of Europe.