Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives triumphed in Germany's election Sunday, but finished just short of an absolute majority.
Final results give Merkel's Christian Democrats 41.5 percent of the vote, finishing only five seats short of an absolute majority in the lower house.
She likely will have to seek a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, who won about 26 percent of the vote.
Merkel's preferred liberal partners, the Free Democrats, won only 4.8 percent of the vote, falling short of the 5 percent need to win seats in parliament.
"This is a super result," Merkel told cheering supporters. "We will do everything together in the next four years to make them successful years for Germany."
Nearly 62 million Germans are eligible to elect the lower house of parliament, which in turn chooses the chancellor.
Merkel's third term as chancellor cements her place in history as one of the longest-serving and most influential European leaders of the postwar era.
The election is being closely watched across the continent. In southern Europe - and in Greece, especially - Germany continues to be vilified as the country that has forced austerity on the European Union, and many single out Chancellor Merkel.