Few minutes before midnight on Sunday, the temporary final result of a crucial German state election prior to this fall's national election for the lower house of parliament, the "Bundestag" was released.
By just one seat, the voters gave the slimmest possible majority to "Red-Green", a coalition of Social-Democrats and Eco-Greens, in the Lower Saxony state assembly, called the "Landtag".
Governor David McAllister (CDU) will be replaced by SPD's frontrunner Stephan Weil (SPD).
It was really a neck-to-neck race to the last second. The cliff-hanger counting and projections of TV-stations for the final result lasted nearly 6 hours.
By a massive CDU support campaign for the Free Democratic Party that had hovered around 3 percent, meaning below the 5 percent hurdle needed for parliamentary representation, the "liberal" result for "2nd votes" was sensationally high with almost 10 percent.
The CDU garnered 54 out of 87 direct seats by "1st vote - first pass pole voting for a candidate in a voting district" , giving them one overlapping mandate, according to the "2nd votes' result" that decides the proportional distribution of the seats. This "extra" seat was compensated by one seat to the SocialDems who got 33 seats directly plus 16 list-mandates (incl. the compensation), thus 49.
The Greens got 20 seats and the FreeDems 14 from the respective list-ranking of the parties.
Finally it is Red-Green 69 vs. Black-Yellow 68. The far-left party "The Leftists" and the newcomer party "The Pirates" didn't qualify for seats with 3.1 and 2.1 pc, well below the 5 pc hurdle.
The numbers in total
CDU 36.0 pc = 54 seats
FDP 9.9 pc = 14 seats = "former" coalition 68
SPD 32.6 pc = 49 seats
Greens 13.7 pc = 20 seats = "new" coalition 69
This Red-Green combination gives additional 6 bloc-votes to the left of center in the upper house of parliament, the "Bundesrat" where the respective states with their governments are representated in the legislation process. This outcome now gives a very clear edge to them, thus Merkel's Black-Yellow coalition is going to face more head wind from the 'opposition' there as well.
The first preliminary analysis of the outcome regarding the federal level:
Well, Chancellor Merkel will have to take more "aspirin" to overcome this blow.
Despite this stunning success of Vice Chancellor Roesler's FDP, the discussion about the helm for the Liberals has not been resolved yet.
SPD's frontrunner for chancellorship, Peer Steinbrueck, has gotten more momentum in the race ahead till fall.
And, the Greens will be staying course to take over the federal government with their proclaimed "Red-Green is out of question."