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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
In pictures: German election result
German election officials in Berlin prepare to count electoral votes
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Election officials in Germany began counting votes in the country's general election shortly after polls closed.
Crowds in Berlin watch a giant screen outside the Reichstag building
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In Berlin, crowds awaited the first indication of the result from official exit polls.
CDU supporters await results in Berlin
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Supporters of Angela Merkel, the pre-poll favourite to win with the conservative CDU party, waited anxiously for results.
CDU supporters react as results of the official exit poll are announced
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As early projections came through they provoked mixed reactions among CDU followers.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder celebrates the SPD's strong showing
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With about 34% of the vote, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD party performed better than many had predicted.
Left supporters celebrate
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Smaller parties such as the new Left, led by former Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine, performed well.
A subdued Angela Merkel in Berlin
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Although Angela Merkel claimed a mandate to form a government, compromise appeared inevitable.

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