Exit polls (which usually have a less than 3% margin of error in Germany, the final result will come in around 3am tomorrow night local time) have been published about an hour ago, and the election means both a win (she will remain prime minister) and a loss (of 8%) for Angela Merkel, and a nightmare for her to form a next government.
As predicted, her Conservative Party will remain the biggest, though her party suffers the worst result since 1949. The Left Socialists Democrats of Martin Schulz take a heavy beating and end up with some 20% or so, their worst election ever.
The surprise of the day, as we predicted yesterday, came from the right nationalist AfD, who gathered 13.3% of the vote, making them in one step the third biggest party in the German Bundestag.
CDU politician and Member of the European Parliament Elmar Brok was first to react: "Today is a loss for the CDU and SPD, to the populism of AfD, but we have to ignore them in parliament."
Angela Merkel conceded in her first election speech: “There’s no reason to beat around the bush, the CDU was hoping for a better result.”
She also immediately reached out to the voters of the AfD, who usually vote for her own CDU: “We are going to conduct a very thorough analysis of the voters of the AfD. We would like to understand their worries.”
Merkel knows that forming a government will be quite difficult. The Socialist Democrats have immediately stated that they do not wish to govern with this result, meaning Merkel can only govern with at least two of the three smaller parties (she has vowed not to govern with the nationalist AfD).
For the first time, Merkel immediately shifted tack during her speech, saying she would pay attention to the legal means of possibly reining in immigration.
Mr Alexander Gauland, co-leader of Alternative for Germany, stated: "The battle isn't over. Please don't come out with anything that could later trip us up."