The conservative bloc of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, is taking stock after suffering its worst federal election outcome since the party's founding in 1945.
Much of the blame has been laid at the feet of Armin Laschet, whose campaign was marred by gaffes and a perceived lack of Merkel's trustworthy and competent persona.
Markus Söder, the leader of the CSU, congratulated the SPD and its chancellor candidate, saying: "Olaf Scholz currently has the best chance of becoming chancellor, unequivocally."
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