From the moment the first exit polls emerged it was clear the Christian Democrats would carry the day. They were on course to capture around a third of the vote.
The night’s big losers were the Social Democrats, some 10 points behind the centre-right, and heading out of government. The liberal FDP were forecast to capture just under 15 percent of the vote. It was a strong showing and enough to make up for the drop in support for the CDU, to ensure a new centre-right coalition was mathematically viable. The Greens and the Left also had reason to celebrate. Both their results were better than in the previous election in 2005, reflecting a drift in support from the big parties.