German Chancellor Angela Merkel, chairwoman of the Christian Democratic party CDU, smiles as she talks to her supporters at the party headquarters in Berlin Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. ARD and ZDF television projections Sunday showed a wide lead for Merkel's conservative Union bloc over challenger Peer Steinbrueck's Social Democrats. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
BERLIN (AP) Official results confirm that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have won Germany's election but indicate that they have finished short of an absolute majority. Her center-right coalition partners crashed out of Parliament.
Merkel's conservative Union bloc won 41.5 percent of Sunday's vote. Its coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats, slumped to 4.8 percent not enough to win seats.
Challenger Peer Steinbrueck's Social Democrats won 25.7 percent, their Green allies 8.4 percent and the hard-line Left Party 8.6 percent.
Election officials didn't immediately provide a seat tally but Merkel's conservatives are 1.2 percentage points behind the other parties combined. The likeliest outcome is a Merkel-led coalition with the Social Democrats.