Mrs Merkel’s former coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) suffered the worst electoral defeat in its history and immediately announced it would go into opposition.
So what’s it like to face a real electorate after all those years in Brussels then Martin?
The SPD’s decision to return to opposition has limited her options, with a three-way coalition with the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens the only obvious option.
The FDP, which returned to parliament with 10.5 per cent after losing all their seats four years ago, have long been seen as Mrs Merkel’s preferred coalition partner.
The Greens, who won 9 per cent, are also seen as a viable partner after moving to a more pragmatic, centrist course in recent years — but they are not natural bedfellows for the FDP.
This is going to be fun. As the only viable alternatives to gain an actual majority are the grand coalition, currently ruled out, with the FDP and then either the Greens or the AfD. Or even more amusingly, Die Linke, the Corbynite left.
Isn’t coalition politics grand? The electorate moves determinedly to the right meaning the Greens must enter government?