Pirates Dashed, Merkel Triumphs in German Election

A historic win for the conservative chancellor means business as usual for the country's film and TV industry.

COLOGNE, Germany -- The winner of Sunday's German election was never really in doubt, but the extent of the victory of chancellor Angela Merkel and her ruling conservative CDU party was historic, while the Pirate Part failed to win any parliamentary seats.

The final tally gave Merkel and the CDU 41.5 percent of the total vote, the best result for the party since 1990 and just a whisper short of an absolute majority of seats in the parliament -- something no German leader has achieved since Konrad Adenauer in 1957.

Merkel's victory, declared “a triumph” on the front pages of newspapers across Europe, puts the 59-year-old former physicist on track to overtake Margaret Thatcher and become the longest-serving female head of government in European history.

For the country's film and TV industry, the election results will mean business as usual. Whomever Merkel decides to form a government coalition with -- the most likely candidate being the left-of-center SPD -- little is likely to change for Germany's small-screen and cinema executives. Germany's generous state subsidies for film and TV production have broad support among the country's major parties, and Merkel's CDU has proven itself largely industry-friendly in its previous two terms in office.

Industry pundits will be relieved by the poor performance of Germany's Pirate Party, which did not win any seats in the new parliament. The Pirates, whose platform includes a radical rewriting of copyright protection laws, came from nowhere four years ago to become, briefly, a new force in German politics.

They won seats in three regional state parliaments and for a time were polling above 10 percent nationwide. But the Pirates self-destructed at the polls, winning just 2.2 percent of the vote on Sunday.