Merkel Wins Historic Fourth Term but Far-Right Populists Surge
Angela Merkel has won a fourth term as Germany's Chancellor in a federal election whose outcome seemed inevitable since the start of campaigning three months ago.
But her ruling Christian Democrats got a lower share of the vote than predicted and Germany's far-right populists surged, securing a bigger vote than most pollsters forecast.
Official results give Merkel's ruling Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, a 33 percent share of the vote, making her one of only three postwar chancellors elected to a fourth term.
Pollsters had expected the CDU/CSU to win between 36 to 39 percent of the vote.
With the lower CDU vote and a stronger showing than expected by Germany's controversial far-right populist party Alternative for Germany, Merkel's win is arguably bittersweet.
"We fought for Germany that lives happily and well," Merkel said at the CDU headquarters. But she acknowledged "a new challenge in the form of the AfD," adding, "We would like to win back AfD voters so we will look into their concerns."
AfD easily cleared the five percent threshold needed to secure seats in the Bundestag.
Merkel is blamed indirectly by some in Germany for the rise of the AfD, which until her 2015 open-door policy for war refugees from the Middle East appeared to be moribund.
AfD grabbed 12.6 percent of the national vote, the first time openly nationalists have entered the German parliament since the Nazi era, marking a sharp departure for a country that has limits on political speech and is wary of any dramatic expressions of nationalism.
AfD leader Frauke Petry tweeted that Germany has experienced an "incomparable political earthquake." At the party's headquarters, supporters chanted, "We are going to take this country back."
Merkel's win can be seen as a personal triumph for her, despite the emergence of the AfD. She acknowledged Sunday night it had been "a difficult campaign." Two years ago Merkel's political position appeared much more precarious with the country turning against her immigration policy and resentment building up over her handling of the debt crisis in southern Europe and increasing social inequality in Germany.
Her poll ratings recovered as the refugee influx ebbed and Donald Trump won election in the United States. Some CDU insiders say the "Trump factor" helped Merkel, as did last year's Brexit vote.
Lawyer: Kushner Used Private Account for Some White House Email
U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, has used a personal email account to discuss official administration business.
Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement Sunday that Kushner received or replied to fewer than 100 messages using that account between January and August.
"These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address," Lowell said. "All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event."
Under U.S. law, correspondence and other documents created or received by the president, the president's staff or anyone whose job is to advise or assist the president must be saved.
Trump has been sharply critical of Hillary Clinton, his opponent in last year's presidential race, for her use of a private email system for official business when she served as secretary of state.