German bond yields steady ahead of Germany’s election this weekend but – amid fears a low turnout could boost far-right prospects – Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a last appeal for all voters to go the polls.
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BERLIN — Germans handed Chancellor Angela Merkel a historic fourth term at the helm of Europe’s economic engine Sunday, after she shepherded the country through multiple crises over the past 12 years.
Her main challenger, the Social Democrats’ Martin Schulz, conceded shortly after the polls closed. Merkel’s conservative bloc finish first with 32.8% of the vote.
The Social Democrats garnered 20.4%, according to the federal government.
But in a sign of disapproval with Merkel’s open-door refugee policy that started in 2015, voters propelled the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party into the national parliament with 13% of the vote, according to the returns.
It is the first time since shortly after Nazi Germany that a far-right party will hold seats in the Bundestag.
Merkel, appearing before supporters chanting “Angie!,” claimed a mandate to form a coalition government with her conservative Christian Democratic Union party. She also vowed to win back voters from the AfD.
While the country’s top job is all but certain, the makeup of the government coalition — which will determine the direction of this central European country — is anything but.
“This election is certainly not boring,” said Thomas Petersen, a researcher at the Allensbach Institute, a Berlin think tank. “But the music is in the smaller parties.”
Will Germany tilt right? Will it become more pro-business? Or will it soften its stance on hot-button issues such as jobs and refugees by moving left? Will voters opt for the status quo?
Analysts attribute Merkel and her conservative Christian Democratic Union win as a referendum on the party’s success at navigating the euro crisis and other issues.
The Social Democrats, the country’s second-largest party, were being punished for their cooperation with the conservatives, analysts said. Governing with Merkel’s Christian Democrats for eight of the past 12 years,…