From the Document: "None of the candidates to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel won a clear governing mandate in Germany's September 26, 2021, parliamentary elections. The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has been Merkel's junior coalition partner for 12 of her 16 years in office, beat Merkel's center-right political group by 1.6 percentage points, but neither party exceeded 26% of the vote. Merkel, who was not a candidate in the elections, is to remain chancellor during what some analysts expect could be protracted negotiations [hyperlink] to form a new government. Merkel's likely successors have pledged continuity in German foreign policy and relations with the United States, but the end of the Merkel era--and her legacy of global leadership--could have important implications [hyperlink] for U.S.-German and U.S.-European relations. Areas of particular concern for Congress could include Germany's policies toward Russia, China, and NATO. Merkel's tenure has been viewed as a period of remarkable stability [hyperlink] and economic prosperity in Germany. The country's broader political landscape arguably has become more fractured [hyperlink] during her time in office, however, as Germany's two main political parties--the SPD and Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU)--have lost support to smaller parties on both sides of the political spectrum."
CRS Insight, IN11755
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/