Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are edging towards election victory, as projected results look increasingly bleak for the party of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ms Merkel’s successor, Armin Laschet, is still vowing to form a government, but his conservative CDU party has seen its worst performance in history.
The SPD currently leads by a small margin, but results are not yet final.
Their leader Olaf Scholz says his party has a clear mandate to rule.
Exit polls predicted a dead heat, but this election has been unpredictable from the start, and the result was never going to be the end of the story. For one thing, the outgoing chancellor is going nowhere until a coalition is formed – and that may have to wait until Christmas.
The successor’s task is to lead Europe’s foremost economy over the next four years, with climate change at the top of voters’ agenda.