The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) was celebrating its historic third place success on Sunday night, having secured 13% of the vote, according to exit polls, marking the first time in almost six decades that an openly nationalist party will enter the Bundestag.

Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrat-led alliance secured around 33.5% of the vote according to exit polls, 12.5 points ahead of her main rivals, Martin Schulz’s centre-left Social Democrats, who according to initial results had secured 21 points, marking a historical low for Germany’s oldest party and pushing it on to the opposition benches.

Addressing CDU supporters in Berlin, a somewhat subdued looking Merkel thanked “voters who put their trust in us”.