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Social Democrats’ Narrow Win Over Merkel’s Bloc Leaves German Government in Limbo

  • Both SPD’s Scholz and CDU’s Laschet could still be chancellor
  • Talks between Greens, FDP will be key for forming coalition
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Scholz’s SPD Narrowly Leads in German Vote, Provisional Count Shows
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Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democrats defeated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in an extremely tight German election, setting in motion what could be months of complex coalition talks to decide who will lead Europe’s biggest economy.

Scholz’s SPD, the front-runner over the final weeks of the campaign, took 25.7% of the vote Sunday, while the Christian Democratic-led bloc under Armin Laschet 24.1%, according to provisional results. Both men said they aim to head the country’s next government and all the parties -- including likely coalition kingmakers the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats -- will hold separate meetings Monday in Berlin to discuss the next steps.