GERMANY– Angela Merkel will return for a fourth term Sunday after preliminary results show German voters awarded her a mandate.
Merkel had campaigned on her record as a highly respected leader not only in Germany, but also internationally, as well as record low unemployment and strong economic growth.
“Merkel has become a very polarizing figure, something she never envisioned for herself, never saw happening,” said Merkel biographer Stefan Kornelius, who is also foreign editor of Germany’s daily Suedeutsche Zeitung. “As much as she pushed to the center on the refugee issue and brought in the left part of electoral voters in her camp,” she lost voters to the right of the spectrum.
Those voters are among the many Germans who are sending a right-wing nationalist party to the German parliament for the first time since 1957. Preliminary results show Alternative for Germany, which was founded as a euroskeptic party in 2013, coming in third place with about 13 percent of the vote.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven sent his praises to Merkel on her victory:
” This evening, I congratulated Angela Merkel on her victory in the German elections. I look forward to continuing to develop our close cooperation – bilaterally, in Europe and globally. It is important to continue this work together for a strong and democratic Europe.”
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