Social Democrats Win German Election by Slimmest of Margins

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Preliminary official results showed the Social Democrats ahead in Germany’s election, with no party winning a decisive majority and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats facing a sharp drop in their share of the vote.CreditCredit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

For a moment it felt as if he were already chancellor. As Olaf Scholz stood on the stage surrounded by euphoric followers chanting his name and celebrating him as they would the next leader of Germany, he was the clear winner of the night.

Mr. Scholz had just done the unthinkable — carry his long-moribund Social Democrats to victory, however narrow, in the most volatile German election in a generation.

But if winning wasn’t hard enough, the hardest part is yet to come.

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