German Chancellor

Angela Merkel wins fourth term, exit polls say

The election will also bring a far-right party into Germany's parliament for the first time in more than half a century.

Mrs Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU alliance won 32.5 percent of the vote, making them the largest parliamentary group, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD indicated. However, that was down from 41.5 per cent in the last election, in 2013.

Support for the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), currently junior partners in a so-called "grand coalition" with Mrs Merkel, slumped to 20 percent - a new post-war low. The SPD ruled out a re-run of that tie-up.

Chechnya gay rights: Merkel urges Putin to intervene

Activists say police in the republic have arrested and tortured dozens of people in an anti-gay crackdown.

Mrs Merkel raised the issue during her first visit to Russia since 2015, which saw her hold talks with Mr Putin at his summer residence in Sochi.

Relations between the two nations have been strained over Syria and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.