The Social Democrats have returned to the driving seat in German politics while Merkel‘s CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, suffered the worst ever result in a national election.

But with 25.7 per cent of the vote, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) secured only a slim lead over their conservative rivals at 24.1 per cent. This means Germany could see another deadlock when it comes to forming a national government coalition with both the Green Party and the free-market FDP needed as king makers. On Sunday night, both the SPD’s Olaf Scholz and the CDU’s Armin Laschet claimed the position of chancellor. Yet there is neither a majority in the Bundestag for Scholz’s preferred red-green coalition nor for Laschet’s dream of becoming the first chancellor to lead a black-green government, as the Greens, which had hoped for a much better result, came in at only 14.8 per cent.