Photo Gallery Winners and Losers in German Vote

Supporters celebrated at the election night headquarters of Germany's CDU party, but over at the FDP, it felt like more of a wake. The only clear winner in Sunday night's vote is Angela Merkel and her conservatives.
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Pure euphoria could be felt among supporters at the headquarters of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats in Berlin on Sunday evening. With more than 42 percent of total votes, the conservatives have emerged as the strongest force in German politics.

Foto: DPA
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Here, Angela Merkel relishes the praise of her supporters. On Sunday evening, it looked as though an absolute majority might even be in reach for the chancellor and her conservatives.

Foto: Michael Kappeler/ dpa
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For Merkel, this was the biggest moment of her political career -- and that was clearly reflected in her facial expressions.

Foto: AP/dpa
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The CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), also had good reason to feel like the election victor on Sunday. The absolute majority that the party achieved in the Bavarian state election last week has helped ensure a strong performance for Merkel at the national level.

Foto: Peter Kneffel/ dpa
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At the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin, a mix of disappointment and hope could be felt. With around 26 percent of the vote, the SPD gained points over its 2009 result, but voters still overwhelmingly rejected the idea of the SPD entering into a government together with the environmentalist Green Party. The SPD and Greens governed together under former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 1998-2005.

Foto: THOMAS PETER/ REUTERS
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The SPD's chancellor candidate, Peer Steinbrück, said after the first results came in on Sunday, "The ball is in Frau Merkel's court, she has to find herself a majority." A so-called grand coalition government between Merkel's CDU and the SPD remains a strong possibility, but Steinbrück has said he would not serve as a minister under Merkel. If he sticks with that position, then this could be the end of his political career.

Foto: THOMAS PETER/ REUTERS
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The mood was much worse over at the headquarters of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), which failed to clear the five percent hurdle required for seats in parliament. This is the first time in postwar German history that the FDP will not be represented.

Foto: DPA
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Christian Lindner, the FDP's party boss in the populous region of North Rhine-Westphalia, said he was still hoping the party would gain a few tenths of a percentage point in the final ballot count.

Foto: PATRIK STOLLARZ/ AFP
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The result is a disaster for FDP party chief and current deputy chancellor Philipp Rösler.

Foto: Maurizio Gambarini/ dpa
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The Greens also faired poorly compared to the last election, but they still secured eight percent, enough to ensure the environmentalist party will stay in the federal parliament, the Bundestag.

Foto: Soeren Stache/ dpa
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Still, it was a long fall for the Green Party. The party secured 10.7 percent of the vote in 2009, but in June 2011 -- just a few months after Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident -- the party had soared to as high as 24 percent in polls. Measured against that figure, Sunday was a big setback for the party.

Foto: Adam Berry/ Getty Images
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The leading candidates for the party -- Katrin Göring-Eckart and Jürgen Trittin -- offered somber expressions to their supporters. The only option the party can hope for, according to the latest figures, is a coalition with Merkel's conservatives -- an unlikely scenario.

Foto: Jens Büttner/ dpa
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Here, supporters of the Left Party can be seen in Berlin. Like the FDP and Greens, they also lost voters on Sunday. However, they still may emerge as the third strongest party in parliament after the conservatives and the SPD.

Foto: Bernd von Jutrczenka/ dpa
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Here, the Left Party's main candidate, Gregor Gysi, can be seen giving a positive spin on the results to party members.

Foto: Bernd von Jutrczenka/ dpa
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Pictured here is Bernd Lucke, the leading candidate for the euro-critical Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Early forecasts had AfD at between 4.8 and 4.9 percent, just shy of the 5 percent needed to enter parliament.

Foto: Christian Charisius/ dpa
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But 5 percent is 5 percent, and party supporters in Berlin were biting their nails on Sunday night. Would they make it into parliament or not?

Foto: Christian Charisius/ dpa
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