German Elections: The Left Party Advances; the Grand Coalition Ends

On the Web site of Die Linke (The Left):

A Great Success: The Left Is a Social Force — in the Bundestag, in the State Parliaments, in Society

Die Linke has won double-digit representation in the new Bundestag.  For the first time since 1945, a party to the left of the SPD has succeeded.  We have made good on the trust of the voters that we received in 2005.  Now, we have received greater trust, so that we can systematically address the issues of social justice, labor, health, education, peace, putting them on the political agenda.  The voters were of the opinion: The stronger The Left, the more social the country.

Die Linke

Der Spiegel, taking note of the worst showing for the SPD in post-war history (down from 34.2% in the 2005 federal elections), the best showing for the FDP in its history (up from 9.8% in the 2005 elections), and the double-digit results for the Left (up from 8.7% in 2005) and the Greens (up from 8.1% in 2005), observes:

If the predictions based on exit polls are confirmed, the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party should together amount to 48.0-48.5%, compared to the 45.5-46.5% share for the SPD, the Left, and the Greens.  Chancellor Merkel is expected to have achieved her stated goal of becoming able to enter a coalition with the FDP after four years of the Grand Coalition.

The CDU/CSU too suffered a slight decline, however, from 35.2% in 2005.  According to Der Spiegel, about 62.2 million voters cast their votes.  The voter turnout was low.  By 2 PM today, only 36.1% of the eligible voters had voted, whereas, by the same time, 41.9% had done so in 2005 (the turnout of the 2005 elections was 77.7%, the lowest in the history of federal elections in the Federal Republic of Germany).