Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.


  1. Angela Merkel tells supporters: "We have mandate to govern"
  2. Martin Schulz's centre-left SPD comes a poor second
  3. The SPD rules out another 'grand coalition' with Merkel's CDU
  4. Right-wing nationalist AfD is set to come third
  5. AfD has never been in parliament before
  6. Liberal FDP heads for a return to the Bundestag

Live Reporting

By Claudia Allen, Paul Kirby and Yaroslav Lukov

All times stated are UK

Auf Wiedersehen!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Getty Images
'Jamaica coalition?' Tough negotiation talks predicted for Angela Merkel

We're now closing our live page, so let's have a quick recap of a busy election day in Germany:

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term - but support for her CDU/CSU alliance has dwindled, and it's the party's worst result in close to 70 years

  • Martin Schulz's centre-left SPD came a poor second - the party's worst performance in the post-war era

  • right-wing nationalist AfD party is set to come third, securing its first representation in parliament

  • a tough period of bargaining to form a coalition lies ahead for Mrs Merkel, as the SPD has said it will be in the opposition

  • the most likely scenario is of a "Jamaica" coalition, so-called because of the colours of Jamaica's flag. It includes the black CDU/CSU, the yellow, business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), and the Greens

That's it for the time being - thanks for staying with us. You can still follow all the latest developments on this and other news on the BBC News website and read our analysis here and here.

Why this is a turning point

So, what does Sunday's electoral shake-up mean for Germany?

Here's our explainer.

Is this Germany's next ruling coalition?

Not the victory Merkel had hoped for - analysis

Jenny Hill

BBC Berlin correspondent

Angela Merkel looked exhausted, strained, as she arrived at her party headquarters this evening.

Emerging from her car, she arranged her face into a smile - first for the cameras and then for the party faithful at the CDU headquarters.

The chancellor knew she’d most likely win this election. But it’s not the victory she or her party had hoped for.

It’s the conservatives' worst election result under her leadership. A verdict, perhaps, on her decision to open Germany’s doors to a million refugees.

Read more from Jenny here

AfD so far first party in Saxony - early results

Early official results from the eastern state of Saxony show - albeit with five of 16 districts in - that the AfD has so far got the most party votes.

Germans have two votes at the election - the first to choose the local candidate of their choice, the second to choose their preferred party.

Saxony electoral results infograph

CDU/CSU's worst result since 1949

Chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU alliance looks set to have won the election with its second smallest share of the vote of the post-war era.

Despite being the largest party, the CDU/CSU won around 33% of the vote.

Only in 1949, when the party won 31% under Konrad Adenauer (but still led the next government of then-West Germany) have the conservatives captured such a small share of the vote at a federal election.


Chart showing CDU's worst election results
This graphic from ARD shows the CDU/CSU's worst federal election results

Cupcakes at CDU headquarters

Cupcakes with the CDU logo at the party's headquarters in Berlin
Getty Images

Time to treat yourself after a long election day? Cupcakes decorated with the CDU logo have been laid out at the party's headquarters in Berlin.

'Merkel, the AfD and a wounded SPD'

Der Spiegel's Sebastian Fischer spells out eight lessons from Sunday's elections:

View more on twitter

Anti-AfD protests in Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne

West German broadcaster WDR tweets footage from Cologne:

View more on twitter

Voter migration in numbers

...and here's how voters migrated between different parties - according to this chart:

View more on twitter

Another way of looking at the results

This graphic, retweeted by British historian Niall Ferguson, shows who has lost and gained votes compared with 2013.

It does look like a big swathe of CDU/CSU ("Union") voters have deserted the party - to the benefit of the AfD.

View more on twitter

'Wake-up call' - analysis

Danny Aeberhard

Europe analyst, BBC World Service

The Christian Democrats and Social Democrats were accused beforehand of running a soporific election campaign.

If so, this was the wake-up call.

The seemingly cosy consensus of their grand coalition has been wrecked. They have haemorrhaged support, with smaller parties benefiting.

Merkel returns to CDU headquarters

The chancellor is back at the party headquarters to thank her supporters.

View more on twitter

Merkel responds to AfD leader

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel responds: "Not sure how Mr Meuthen is able to tell whether someone is a German passport holder or not simply by looking at them, I'm not able to do that."

'I struggle to find Germans on the streets' - AfD leader

AfD's Jörg Meuthen at post-election discussion
AFP/Getty Images
AfD's Jörg Meuthen at post-election discussion

More from the post-election discussion.

Jörg Meuthen, an AfD spokesman, says: "The Bundestag needs to make policies in the interest of the German people.

"I want to stress that we accept people with a history of migration, as long as they are fully integrated into German society.

"Furthermore, and if Merkel keeps defending the legality of her decisions in 2015 [on taking migrants in], then she should have to be part of a parliamentary inquiry into the legality of those decisions.

"We do not accept racism and xenophobia, in fact these sentiments don't exist in our party."

But he went on to say:

"In some German inner cities that I visit, I see only isolated Germans on the streets."

The winner doesn't take it all

Angela Merkel may have won again but she had hoped for a better result and tough coalition talks are now expected.

So, the winner doesn't take it all, tweets the BBC's Gavin Lee from the CDU's headquarters.

View more on twitter

Schulz 'looks like a bad loser' - media reaction

First reaction to the post-election debate in Berlin attended by Germany's political party leaders.

Spiegel's Mathieu von Rohr describes SPD head Martin Schulz's performance as "defensive and awkward".

The journalist says he "looks like a bad loser".

View more on twitter

'I want a stable government' - Merkel

Asked about the possibility of forming a minority government, Mrs Merkel says she wants to build a stable government for Germany - Reuters news agency.

'You are the biggest loser,' Schulz tells Merkel

In the post-election TV debate, Martin Schulz (right) tells Angela Merkel she is "the biggest loser", despite his own party's sorry showing in the polls.

Angela Merkel (left) and Martin Schulz during a post-election debate
Angela Merkel (left) and Martin Schulz during a post-election debate

VIDEO: The moment exit polls came in

And this is the moment Germany's exit polls came in: applause from Merkel supporters, louder cheers among AfD followers...


Germany election: The moment the exit polls came in

Anti-AfD protest in Frankfurt

People have taken to the streets in Germany's financial capital to protest against the right-wing nationalists' success.

Police patrol in front of a rally against the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Frankfurt

France's Le Pen congratulates AfD

View more on twitter

The French right-winger congratulates her allies in the AfD for their "historic" achievement.

"It is a new symbol of the revival of the European peoples," the National Front leader adds.

Latest results - ARD/Infratest

And here's the latest poll results from ARD/Infratest.

Latest results infograph

Anti-AfD rally getting bigger

The BBC's Maria Byrne tweets that the crowd is getting noisier outside the AfD's headquarters in Berlin.

View more on twitter

Angela Merkel's quiet power

Angela Merkel

So, Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term, although she admitted she had hoped for a "better result".

She has led Germany since 2005, enduring a global financial crisis, turmoil over migration policy, and the disruption caused by Brexit.

So, who is Mrs Merkel? Here's our profile with archive pictures and analysis.

Merkel: Two possibilities for government

Angela Merkel makes it clear again that there are two arithmetic possibilities for a new government for Germany - despite the SPD having ruled out taking part.

While she had noted the SPD's position, "perhaps we can talk again tomorrow," Mrs Merkel says. (See 6:37pm entry).

Schulz: Merkel will hang on to power

The SPD's Martin Schulz tells the FDP and the Greens that they needn't worry, as "Mrs Merkel will give them anything to stay in the chancellery".

"I know how these coalition talks go", he adds.

Greens: Europe, climate - change priorities

Taking part in the "elephant round" TV debate, Green candidate Katrin Göring-Eckardt says the priorities for her party include Europe and climate change.

'Not condemned to govern'

The FDP's Christian Lindner says his party is "not condemned to govern", but adds that the party has a responsibility.

He again criticises the SDP for ruling out being part of a coalition.

'Elephant round' is under way

Political leaders, including Mrs Merkel and Mr Schulz, are taking part in a so-called "elephant round" discussion, which is broadcast live on German TV.

Protests in Cologne too

Antifascist demonstrators in Cologne have lit flares as they take to the streets to protest against the AfD, according to Germany's tabloid Bild.

View more on twitter

'A huge success'

Beatrix van Storch, one of the AfD's leaders, tells the BBC that Sunday's election result is "a huge success and it will change the political system in Germany, and it will give back a voice to the opposition".

Ms van Storch says her party will "give the people who have not been represented in the last parliament a voice again".

"We will start debates on migration, we will start debates on Islam, we will start debates on ever closer union."

'Not in our name'

Demonstrators angry at the AfD's electoral success have gathered in Berlin this evening

Demonstrators protest against the anti-immigration party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) after German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017

Demonstrators protest against the anti-immigration party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) after German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017.

Trouble at AfD HQ

We have already told you about a protest against AfD at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. Now some trouble has broken out.

Police say bottles have been thrown at officers:

View more on twitter

Jewish warning on nationalist rise

And just to make clear what a dramatic development AfD's rise on the national stage is, Germany's Central Council of Jews has issued a dramatic warning.

Germany is facing its biggest challenge since 1949, it says,

View more on twitter

AfD tweets its result

The projections used by both major broadcasters give AfD over 13% of the vote:

View more on twitter

'We will hunt them down'

AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland, speaking after the projected results showed his party in third place, said they would "hunt down" Mrs Merkel or whoever formed the next government.

View more on twitter

We will take back our country and our people.

Alexander GaulandAfD

'Someone has to govern'

"We are very far from each other in many areas," says senior Green (and premier of Baden-Württemberg) Winfried Kretschmann, regarding the differences between his party and potential coalition partners in the CDU/CSU and FDP.

But someone has to govern, he adds.

'Disaster for Merkel'

Jenny Hill

BBC Berlin correspondent

This is a disastrous night for Mrs Merkel. She's managed to win but this is her worst-ever election result.

What we're seeing here is Mrs Merkel being punished for opening Germany's door to hundreds of thousands of migrants. Mrs Merkel's campaign team saw this coming very late.

She urged voters to mobilise. Perhaps what we're seeing is that didn't happen.