ANGELA Merkel has won a historic fourth successive term after Germany went to the polls on September 24 in a Federal Election.
Meanwhile, right-wing nationalists made a historical breakthrough – here's everything you need to know.
Angela Merkel has secured a fourth term as Chancellor in Germany's General Election but her victory was clouded by the hard-right AfD party winning its first seats in parliament.
Merkel, who has been in power for 12 years, clinched about 33 per cent of the vote with her conservative Christian Union (CDU/CSU) bloc.
It was the CDU's worst result in almost 70 years, but enough for it to remain the largest party in parliament.
Its nearest rivals, the Social Democrats and their candidate Martin Schulz, came in a distant second, with 20.5 per cent of the vote.
But in a bombshell for the German establishment, the anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) captured 12.6 per cent, making it the country's third biggest political force.
The four-year-old party with links to the far-right French National Front and Britain's UKIP has been shunned by Germany's mainstream.
It is now headed for the opposition benches of the Bundestag lower house, dramatically boosting its visibility and state financing.
Alarmed by the prospect of what Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded "real Nazis" entering the Bundestag for the first time since World War II, the candidates had used their final days of campaigning to implore voters to reject the populists.
"This Alternative for Germany is no alternative. They are a shame for our nation," former European Parliament chief Schulz told a rally in Berlin on Friday.
Merkel, often called the most powerful woman on the global stage, ran on her record as a steady pair of hands in a turbulent world, warning voters not to indulge in "experiments".
Pundits said Merkel's reassuring message of stability and prosperity resonated in greying Germany, where more than half of the 61 million voters are aged 52 or older.
Speaking after the count was completed Angela Merkel said she had hoped for a "better result".
The long-standing chancellor said she would listen to the "concerns, worries and anxieties" of those who had voted for Alternative for Germany as she makes a bid to win voters back during the next parliament.
She added: "Today we can say that we now have a mandate to assume responsibility and we're going to assume this responsibility calmly, talking with our partners of course."
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives won a decisive victory over their Social Democrat (SPD) rivals in a vote in Germany's northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on May 7.
This boosts her prospects of winning a national election in September.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) won 33 per cent of the vote in Schleswig-Holstein.
This is up from 30.8 per cent in the last election there in 2012.
The SPD won 26.2 per cent, down from 30.4 per cent.
The result in Schleswig-Holstein, a region north of Hamburg that borders Denmark, is a big blow for the Social Democrats because they have been the main ruling party there since 2012.
The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has recently been losing support after a bout of infighting, scored only 5.6 per cent.