German Chancellor Angela Merkel cruised to victory in federal elections on Sunday with enough votes to form a new center-right government with her preferred partner, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).
Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), won nearly 34 percent of the votes, according to preliminary returns. At the same time, the classical liberal FDP won nearly 15 percent of the votes, the party's best showing ever.
With a combined total of around 49 percent, the CDU/CSU and the FDP won a stable majority in Germany's multiparty system. This will give Merkel the green light to ditch the awkward four-year-old "grand coalition" between the CDU/CSU and her party's main rival, the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), and replace it with a center-right CDU/CSU-FDP coalition.