Election Night Diary A Chronology of Sunday's Vote in Germany

Sunday saw strong voter turnout in the German election and a shoo-in victory for incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel. Here's a digital archive of SPIEGEL International's live blog.

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  • Election Day is here! Some 62 million people are called upon to vote this Sunday in Germany's national elections. The polling sites are open from 8 a.m until 6 p.m., with first projections expected shortly after polls close. And although Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to win a third term in office, the distribution of votes today will determine how much authority she wields and what other parties will help run the show.
    Our team of SPIEGEL ONLINE reporters and editors in Berlin will be here to keep you posted as the events play out. We'll also be on Twitter at @SPIEGEL_English. Let us know what you think!
    In the meantime, brush up your knowledge of the German election system and find out more about the parties and candidates here.
  • 9/22/13 9:23 PM
    As of 11:06 p.m., more than three-quarters of the votes in Germany's election districts had been counted. We're anxiously awaiting the final results, which will be posted as soon as they come in.
  • 9/22/13 9:12 PM
    Here are the latest election night projections from Germany's public broadcasters.
    Figures are from ARD (10:47 p.m.) and ZDF (10:40 p.m.) respectively:
    Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU): 41.7%/41.9%
    Peer Steinbrück's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD): 25.6%/25.7%
    The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP): 4.7%/4.8%
    The environmentalist Green Party: 8.4%/8.4%
    The far-left Left Party: 8.5%/8.5%
    The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD): 4.8%/4.8%
    Other: 6.3%/5.9%
    Note: Projections are based on partial returns.
  • 9/22/13 7:18 PM
    News agency AFP is calling tonight's result the high point of Chancellor Angela Merkel's political career.
  • 9/22/13 6:04 PM
    Schadenfreude? #FDP is blowing up on Twitter.
  • 9/22/13 5:57 PM
    ...we thought perhaps it was only the defeated SPD, but maybe the Germans just like to keep the streets tidy. No need to keep those campaign ads up any longer than necessary. Photo: DPA
  • 9/22/13 5:18 PM
    Last time a German chancellor had an absolute majority in parliament was in 1957. Adenauer's promise sounded familiar: "No experiments!"
  • 9/22/13 5:17 PM
    Free Democrat leader Philipp Rösler and the party's lead candidate Rainer Brüderle have both suggested they will resign as a result of the FDP's abysmal 4.7 percent showing. Today, they went from being Merkel's coalition partner to having zero seats in parliament. Photo: AFP
  • 9/22/13 5:12 PM
    Here are the latest election night projections from Germany's public broadcasters.
    Figures are from ARD (6:55 p.m.) and ZDF (7:01 p.m.) respectively:
    Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU): 42.5%/42.5%
    Peer Steinbrück's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD): 25.6%/25.9%
    The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP): 4.6%/4.6
    The environmentalist Green Party: 8%/8%
    The far-left Left Party: 8.0%/8.4%
    The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD): 4.9%/4.9%
    Other: 6.4%/5.7%
    Note: Projections are based on partial returns.
  • 9/22/13 5:11 PM
    Merkel's conservatives could win an absolute majority according to the latest projections from public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.
  • 9/22/13 5:04 PM
    Beaming Merkel thanks "my husband", known as the Phantom of the Opera for so rarely appearing public. But he's at CDU HQ tonight. #BTW13
  • 9/22/13 5:01 PM
    SPD candidate Peer Steinbrück in Berlin couldn't resist a final barb directed at Merkel. "It was a fantastic election campaign," he said. "We didn't run a campaign devoid of content."
  • 9/22/13 4:51 PM
    "FDP out, Alternative for Germany in: If it really comes to a switch between these two parties in the Bundestag, it would be no minor change to the country's political landscape," writes Germany's conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in a commentary on its website. "If the CDU and the SPD stick to their promise of not forming a coalition with the anti-euro party or the Left Party, there will be only one alternative: a grand coalition."
  • 9/22/13 4:41 PM
    The first projections based on actual results are beginning to come in, confirming the initial exit poll numbers that Germany's public television networks publicized at 6 p.m. According to projections made by broadcaster ARD, Chancellor Merkel's conservatives will receive 298 seats in parliament and the center-left Social Democrats will be able to send 184 lawmakers. The Greens will have 57 seats, the Left Party 59 and Merkel's current junior coalition partner, the business-friendly Free Democrats, seem to have failed to achieve the 5 percent threshold necessary for representation. The estimated seat numbers do not yet take into account results in individual districts. Click here to find out why.
  • 9/22/13 4:34 PM
    "It is the bitterest hour in decades for the liberals," says Christian Lindner, leader of the business-friendly Free Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia.
    Read about the FDP's recent fight for survival here.
  • 9/22/13 4:32 PM
    Young members of the Christian Democrats (CDU) celebrate at party headquarters in Berlin. First exit polls have the conservatives at 42.5 percent. Photo: Getty Images
  • 9/22/13 4:26 PM
    "We had hoped for a different result. We will have to analyze internally how it happened," says Renate Künast, parliamentary floor leader of the Green Party, which pulled in just 8 percent of the vote, according to exit polls.
  • 9/22/13 4:20 PM
    The first exit polls show a clear lead of at least 42 percent for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats, but it is still unclear whether she can continue into a third term with her current coalition partner, the FDP. Both the FDP and the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) parties are hovering just below the 5 percent hurdle required to enter parliament. It could be a long night.
  • 9/22/13 4:20 PM
    It looks like Merkel's junior coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats, may not make it into parliament. First exit polls have them at 4.5 percent, short of the five percent threshold. Their supporters look on horrified as the first results are announced on Sunday night in Berlin. Photo: AFP
  • 9/22/13 4:06 PM
    And public broadcaster ZDF reports:
    Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU): 42.5%
    Peer Steinbrück's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD): 26.5%
    The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP): 4.5%
    The environmentalist Green Party: 8%
    The far-left Left Party: 8.5%
    The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD): 4.8%
    Other: 5.2%
  • 9/22/13 4:04 PM
    The first exit poll results are in! Public broadcaster ARD reports:
    Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU): 42%
    Peer Steinbrück's center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD): 26%
    The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP): 4.7%
    The environmentalist Green Party: 8%
    The far-left Left Party: 8.5%
    The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD): 4.9%
    Other: 5.9%
  • 9/22/13 3:17 PM
    Germany's electoral system is complicated, to the point that even many Germans don't fully understand it. BBC World untangles the current election in comic book form, and expains why it might not be smooth sailing for incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats.
  • 9/22/13 3:15 PM
    While we're waiting for results to start rolling in, why not check out our most recent profiles on the campaign's two main candidates? Calm and steady conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and her more excitable opponent, center-left Social Democrat Peer Steinbrück.
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