Merkel claims mandate to form new German government

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has claimed a mandate to form a new German government with her conservative bloc. She’s also vowing to win back voters from the nationalist Alternative for Germany party after it got enough support to enter parliament.

Projections showed Merkel’s conservative Union bloc finishing first in Sunday’s election but well short of its election results in 2013. Supporters at party headquarters greeted her with cheers, applause and chants of “Angie!”

Merkel conceded that “of course we would have preferred a better result, that’s completely clear.” But she noted that her party has been in power for 12 years and said the last four years have been “extremely challenging.”

Alternative for Germany, or AfD, has been harshly critical of Merkel and her decision to let in large numbers of migrants in the last two years. Merkel told her supporters that “we want to win back AfD voters” by solving the country’s problems and addressing their concerns.

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