The German general election on 24th September produced a triple shock wave, felt beyond Germany itself. Dramatic losses were suffered by the Christian Democrats from the CDU, and their Bavarian sister party the CSU in comparison with the last election in 2013. Furthermore, the Social Democrats from the SPD endured a political nightmare, with their worst electoral performance ever.
For the first time since the foundation of the Federal Republic in 1949, a nationalist party entered Parliament and in doing so became its third largest group. While Angela Merkel is assured of becoming the next Chancellor, it will be extremely difficult to form a government. The only option appears to be a four-party coalition of the CDU, CSU, Greens and the liberal FDP. This coalition has been dubbed 'Jamaica' due to the colours of the respective parties. What are the factors that led to this result, what lies ahead in Berlin, and what will the consequences be for Germany and Europe?