Merkel’s bloc comes 1st in German election

3:55 a.m.

Election officials confirm Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc has come first in Germany’s election, paving the way for her to lead the country for a fourth term.

The federal election authority said early Monday that Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Bavarian-only Christian Social Union combined for 33 percent of the vote.

Challenger Martin Schulz’ center-left Social Democratic Party, which has joined Merkel’s party in a “grand coalition” for the past four years, finished second with 20.5 percent.

Alternative for Germany, which campaigned on an anti-refugee, socially conservative message, was third with 12.6 percent. It will enter federal parliament for the first time.

2 a.m.

The nationalist Alternative for Germany party has won the biggest share of the vote in the eastern state of Saxony during Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

The state is the birthplace of the group Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, which has staged anti-Muslim demonstrations in the state capital Dresden since 2014.

Saxony has also seen numerous high-profile attacks on migrants and refugee shelters in recent years, prompting the local government to launch a public relations campaign to improve its image abroad.

State election authorities say the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany, or AfD, received 27 percent of the votes in Saxony during Sunday’s national election. That’s a tenth of a percentage point more than Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats received in the state.

Saxony is the home of AfD figurehead leader Frauke Petry.

1:05 a.m.

Germany’s main industrial lobby group is calling for a swift coalition deal to form a new government following Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

BDI chief Dieter Kempf says companies need a clear signal “in order to avert damaging Germany.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel looks set to form a government again if her Christian Democratic Union can reach an agreement with the pro-business Free Democrats and the left-wing Greens parties.

Merkel’s current coalition partner, the Social Democrats, say they plan to go into opposition after suffering their worst election result since World War II.

Kempf says it is important to invest in Germany’s ailing infrastructure. He also is slamming the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which received about 13 percent of the vote Sunday, saying that “at its core it stands against everything that makes Germany strong.”

12:15 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has…

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