BERLIN – Angela Merkel won a fourth term as chancellor in the Sunday elections, placing it in front of German post-war leaders, even though his victory was diminished by the entry of a far-right party in Parliament to the first time in more than 60 years, according to the preliminary results.
The far-right party, Alternative for Germany or AfD, got about 13 percent of the vote – nearly three times the 4.7 percent it received in 2013 – a significant manifestation of the anger of voters against immigration and inequalities as support for the two main parties has fallen for four years.
Mrs. Merkel and her center-right Christian Democrats won, the center held, but it was weakened. The results clearly showed that extreme right-wing populism – and anxieties about security and national identity – were far from dead in Europe.
They also showed that the main parties of Germany were not immune to the same problems that afflicted large parties across the continent, from the 39 Italy to France to Great Britain.
"We were expecting a better result, it is clear," said Merkel on Sunday evening. "The good thing is that we will certainly lead the next government".
She said that she would listen to those who voted for the Alternative for Germany or AfD and are working to reconquer them "by solving problems, taking their worries, in part also their fears, but above all by a good policy. "
But his comments seemed to be turning to the right and more specifically to border controls, migration and security
] Despite her victory, Merkel and her Conservatives can not drive alone, which makes it likely that the Chancellor's political life in his fourth term will be much more complicated.
Form and Policies of a New Coalition "Merkel said on Sunday evening that she hoped to have a new government" in Christmas. "
The Social Democrats of e center left, the partners of Merkel's coalition for four years, ran a poor second to her center-right group and the Social-Democrats announced on Sunday night that the party would go into opposition, Hope to rebuild their political profile.
But the move would also ensure that AfD remains on the political foundation and does not become the official opposition of the country.
The alternative for Germany nevertheless promised to shake Germany's consensus policy and violate a post-war taboo on entering Parliament, it already had it.
Alexander Gauland, one of the leaders of AfD, told party supporters after the results in Parliament: "We will follow them. "
Burkhard Schröder, one of the most prominent members of the German Parliament, member of the AfD since 2014 in Düsseldorf, was ecstatic. "We are absolutely euphoric here," he said. "This is a strong victory for us that has weakened Angela Merkel."
Up to 700 demonstrators gathered outside of the AfD Election Night, singing slogans like "All of Berlin, Hates AfD."
"It is important to show that it is not normal for a neo-fascist party to enter the German Parliament," said Dirk Schuck, 41, a political scientist at the University of Leipzig.
While Merkel and the Social Democrats have lost significant electoral support from 2013, his victory has accumulated in the ranks of Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, the only Chancellors of 39 after the war to win four national elections.
The election is a remarkable corner stone for Mrs. Merkel, 63, the first East Germany and the first woman to become Chancellor.
It also represents a rationale for its pragmatic leadership and its confidence in the stewardship of the largest economy in Europe and the European Union itself in front of the the challenges of Russia and China and the uncertainty created by the unpredictable policies of President Trump.
Even though, the far right advance was a cold embarrassment for her and the Christian Democratic Union, or the CDU. AfD made special incursions into former East Germany, but also into Bavaria, where Merkel's sister party, the Christian Social Union or CSU has long led, but lost 10% of his vote by 2013.
Horst Seehofer, the head of the CSU, said: "We made the mistake of opening the right flank."
A critic of Merkel's immigration policies, he added: "We have a vacuum cleaner right, we will close it with the policy that ensures that Germany remains the 39 Germany ".
The late leader of this party, Franz-Josef Strauss, said in 1986 that the party should allow no one to run to his right. "To the right of us, there is only the wall," he said.
. Seehofer echoed this insight Sunday night. But others have warned the calm.
"We will remember today the story," said Thomas Heilmann, member of the CDU Parliament, in an interview by e-mail. "Like the United States, hatred has become a part of politics, and the CDU can not and should not correspond to this attitude."
The government of Germany "will become more difficult "Heilmann added:" This is certainly not a good day for Germany and probably not too good for Europe either. "
Clemens Fuest, the director of the IFO, the Institute of Economic Research in Munich, said the results show a great concern about "Security, immigration and the possible challenges for the German economic model , like globalization. "
These were more important than the concentration of Social-Democrats on injustice and inequality,
The other parties should do less of the AfD by showing "and instead ask what questions they did not answer "- border issues, migration and pressures on Germany to do more to support other countries of the European Union.
The Merkel Conservative bloc gained about 32.9 percent of the vote, down sharply from 41.5 percent in 2013, the first results showed.
Social Democrats fell to 20.8 percent, a new low in the post-war era, down from 25.7 percent four years ago
If the Social Democrats wish to enter into opposition, Merkel will face an exceptionally difficult task to form a coalition of work. Given the numbers, it would seem that she will have to regroup her own Christian Democrat-Christian bloc with two other parties.
The new potential partners live in practically opposite poles on the political spectrum – pro-free professional democrat approaches, which have gained about 10.4 percent of the vote, and the left green pro-environment Greens , which gained about 9 percent.
At the Christian Democratic headquarters, Frank Wexler, a Berliner, called the results "a little depressing."
Big coalitions have allowed small parties to gain ground, he said. "The main parties are getting smaller and smaller," said Mr. Wexler. To fight the AfD, he said: "We must address the issue of strengthening borders."
But Mr. Wexler said that he was most disturbed by the AfD's hostility towards the European Union. "This is what Germany needs to do – be a strong leader in Europe".
But Hans Kundnani, an expert in Germany with the German Marshall Fund, said Merkel might not create the tripartite Coalition, putting the Social Democrats under pressure to join another coalition rather than force new elections.
To Mr Kundnani, "the big shock is not AfD", but the loss of support for Mrs Merkel 's conservatives and the increasing fragmentation of German political life.
Germany has a complicated system of proportional representation, in which each voter issues a ballot for a local representative and a ballot for a political party. Those who are elected locally occupy their seats.
But the overall share of party seats in parliament is determined by the percentage of votes they win. Participation was 75.9 percent, up from 71.5 percent in 2013, but far from the participation figures of 90 percent of the 1980s.
Although initially reluctant to for a fourth term, Merkel has embarked on the campaign, especially as the government has brought some order to the chaos engendered in 2015 when it threw the country's borders open to refugees and migrants.
But the backlash of the migrant crisis, combined with its long period in office and in the desolate nature of the policy of the grand coalition has led to increased support for extreme and anti-European parties as the AfD and the Left, the heir of the Communist Party of East Germany, who came third in 2013 and won about 9% of the vote on Sunday.
In Dresden, Gert Frülling, a 75-year-old pensioner, refused to disclose his party's preference, but said he favored some of the alternatives for the proposals of the party, Germany.
"Everything has gone too fast," he said, referring to the reunification era of Germany. "Dresden is a city of bureaucrats and soldiers, and they have destroyed everything that multiculturalism. I know we have to change, but it should have happened more gradually."
He said that and it would be wrong for the other parties to refuse to work with the AfD in Parliament. "If they present good ideas," he said, "I think it's not fair to boycott them."
In Neustadt, a gentrifying region of Dresden, Rebecca Klingenburg, 20, was clearly exalted to be an estimated three million voters for the first time.
"We decide on the country we want to live in," she said. A student of mechanical engineering, Mrs. Klingenburg said that she voted to keep Germany 's orientation towards Europe at the time of growing nationalism.
"I learned four languages at school," she said. "I want to make sure that we remain international"