Post-Merkel, a muddle: 9 German election takeaways

Negotiations among Germany’s parties have just begun. But one election outcome seems clear: The next government will be a centrist one once again — there’s just the small outstanding question of who will lead it.

That question will take weeks or months to answer. But what’s now evident is that the poor results of The Left party — which could have opened the door to a leftist alliance with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens — mean that the SPD’s Olaf Scholz has diminished leverage.

Here are nine takeaways from election day in Germany.

1. Small is powerful

Both would-be chancellors, Scholz and Armin Laschet of the center-right Union

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