Germany's Social Democrats have narrowly won the race to become Chancellor,… putting an end to 16 years of Angela Merkel's conservative government.
The preliminary results posted by the federal German election agency early on Monday, showed that the center-left Social Democratic Party won the most seats with 25.7 percent of the votes.
The Social Democrats claimed the victory by a small margin of less than 1.6 percentage points over Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union.
SPD's leader and chancellor candidate, Olaf Scholz, will now have to team his party up with other parties,… as it falls short of the 50-percent majority to form a government.
Observers say the most likely outcome is the formation of a three-way coalition,… led by the Social Democrats,… possibly involving the smaller Green Party as well as the Free Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, the conservative candidate, Armin Laschet, also announced his intentions to form a government, despite coming in second.
If the SPD fails to form a new government, the chance would go to the runner up.
Due to the narrow win and complex voting system, the formation of a new coalition is expected to take months.
But both candidates said they are aiming to strike a deal before Christmas.
For the time being, Merkel will remain in post as a caretaker,.. until the new Chancellor is elected by parliament.
Merkel will be stepping down after becoming the first female Chancellor of Germany in 2005.
She has been the second-longest serving Chancellor in German history and also widely regarded as the leader of Europe.
Her successor will now take on the role of leading the world's fourth largest economy over the next four years, with issues ranging from foreign policy and climate change at the top of the agenda.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.