Not only is German Chancellor Angela Merkel set to win her third term in office after today's elections, exit polls suggest her conservative party may have achieved an absolute majority -- a historic event that hasn't occurred in almost half a century. From CNN:
Early returns showed Merkel's bloc -- the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Social Union (CSU) -- with a slim 42.2% to 41.7% lead, according to exit polling by Germany's Forsa Institute and released by German broadcaster RTL Television. With those early results, Merkel's party was within two seats of obtaining a super majority.
Whether Merkel -- who is running in her third election -- obtains the coveted majority or not, the results appeared to validate her policies and leadership style as she has guided Germany through the Eurozone's economic crisis amid criticism that she has held back bailout help to struggling EU nations.
If, as it's looking might be the case, she falls a few seats short of the majority, Merkel will have to form a new coalition with the Social Democrats, her main opponents on the left. Her preferred liberal allies, the pro-business Free Democrats, appear to have gained less than five percent of the vote, and were beaten out by both the Green Party and the former communist Left Party.
Regardless of the final numbers, said Merkel, “It was a super result."