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Germany's 2013 elections were a personal triumph for Angela Merkel - she will be renewed in post for a third consecutive term.
The CDU/CSU even came close to an absolute majority in the Bundestag, but a grand coalition with its Social Democrat (SPD) opponents looms.
The SPD netted their second-worst result since 1945. There was initial joy at the fortunes of the Free Democrats - Merkel's partners in the current ruling coalition - who netted around 4.7 per cent of the vote. But that initial joy faded when their own results filtered in - 25.6 per cent, their second-worst performance since 1945.
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