Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) won the national election on Sunday, 26 September, by a narrow margin, putting an end to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16-year-long rule.
The Social Democrats claimed a "clear mandate" to lead a government for the first time since 2005, Reuters reported.
As per projections by broadcaster ZDF, the centre-left SPD were on track for 26 percent of the vote, while Merkel's CDU/CSU conservative bloc was at 24.5 percent, but both groups believed they could lead the next government.
However, with neither major bloc commanding a majority, a three-way alliance led by either the Social Democrats or Merkel's conservatives is expected.
The Social Democrats' chancellor candidate, Olaf Scholz, was quoted as saying, "We are ahead in all the surveys now."
He added, "It is an encouraging message and a clear mandate to make sure that we get a good, pragmatic government for Germany", Reuters reported.
The environmentalist Greens came third with 14.8 percent followed by the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) with 11.5 percent. Both the parties have indicated their willingness to discuss a three-way alliance with either of the two bigger rivals to form a government, AP reported.
Meanwhile, the far-right Alternative for Germany came fourth with 10.3 percent, winning 83 seats, while the Left Party took 4.9 percent with 39 seats won.
Germany is divided into 299 constituencies or electoral districts. But the Bundestag has 598 base seats because the German voters have two votes each – the 'first vote' and the 'second vote'.
Since the current polls show SPD in the lead, a coalition comprising the SPD, the Greens, and the FDP seems most likely.
(With inputs from Reuters, ZDF and AP)