Merkel's party hails dream result
From the moment the first exit polls appeared, the celebrations began at the Christian Democrats' Headquarters in Berlin. Every good result was met with whoops and a clinking of beer glasses. They even managed to offer sausages with "CDU" branded on them!
Angela Merkel's supporters had grown nervous in recent days that they might have to continue their awkward partnership with the Social Democrats.
Soon it sunk in that Germany would have a centre-right government. It was more than many at Mrs Merkel's party headquarters had dared to hope for. One woman told us she thought it would be bad for Germany if the current coalition had continued.
When Angela Merkel arrived she was met with cries of "Angie, Angie". She had made the election about herself and so this was a significant victory for her.
Although this is a shift to the right, Angela Merkel stressed that she wanted to be "the Chancellor of all Germans". Certainly her record in power suggests she will be pragmatic. In 2005 she had talked of radical economic reforms. Now she has the opportunity to reveal where her true instincts lie.
Angela Merkel's new partners are the pro-business Free Democrats. They won't get their way with all their demands but they are tax-cutters, they want to reduce the state, they are reluctant to bail-out companies and they are against generous stimulus packages.
Even if some of their ideas are adopted it will sharpen the political divide in Germany.
But one story tonight is this: at a time when Germans are outraged at the excesses of capitalism, the greed of the bankers and the bonuses they take, they have given the centre-left its worst result in nearly 60 years.
The voters may not like casino capitalism, but they seem to treasure more an efficient crisis-manager, which is how Angela Merkel sold herself.