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German Chancellor Angela Merkel returns on the stage at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union CDU in Berlin. Photo: Michael Sohn / AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's election to a fourth term was marred by a bigger-than-expected success for her nationalist opponents — the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, which own 13% of the vote, pulling it in at third place. Merkel's party now has its worst showing in the Bundestag since 1949, per CNN. The AfD capitalized on Germany's refugee crisis and will surge into the Bundestag as the first substantial rightwing populist party since the Nazis during the second world war, per the Financial Times (paywalled).

How we got here, via by Wall Street Journal's Marcus Walker in Berlin: "German Results Reflect European Unease Over Identity, Economy": "Germany's election result confirms the overriding trend of European politics in the past year: the crumbling of the Continent's established parties in the face of voter anxiety over economics and identity."

  • "The fragmented vote mirrors this year's elections in other Continental European countries including France and the Netherlands. Established parties have suffered steep losses, especially on the center left, and voters have turned to upstarts on the nationalist right, the anticapitalist left or the liberal center."
  • Why it matters: "The upheavals partly reflect the fallout of a decade marked by economic, security and immigration crises that have tested the cohesion of the European Union."
  • "The future direction of the EU and its major nations is now up for grabs in a fluid contest between internationalists and nationalists, incumbents and insurgents."

Be smart: The nationalist and populist wave that produced Brexit and President Trump had faltered in recent European elections, but persists in ways that the establishment hasn't yet fully reckoned with. Merkel's take: "There's a big new challenge for us, and that is the entry of the AfD in the Bundestag...We want to win back AfD voters," she said Sunday.

Go deeper: There's internal dissent in AfD, and AfD's chairwoman, Frauke Petry, walked out of a press conference that was intended to celebrate the success. There's no certainty about whether Merkel will be building a coalition via a deal with the FDP and the Greens.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.