(BLOOMBERG) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel won an overwhelming endorsement for a third term as her Free Democratic ally plunged out of parliament, probably forcing her to seek a new governing partner, television projections showed.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc took 42.3 percent of today’s vote to 26.3 percent for the main opposition Social Democrats of Peer Steinbrueck, her first-term finance minister, according to projections on ZDF television. If confirmed, that would be the highest tally since Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s 1990 result after reunification.

“It’s an Election Day like we haven’t seen for years,” Armin Laschet, deputy chairman of Merkel’s CDU, said on ARD television. “The FDP may still make it, but first of all it’s an endorsement of Angela Merkel’s policies.”

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