Coverage of the German election up until last week was mainly focused on one question: How did Germany turn out to be the most stable European country facing a general election this year?

But Johanna Schuster-Craig, assistant professor of German at Michigan State University, says the election results point to populist radical right undercurrents, which many journalists had thought no longer posed a danger to German politics.

Merkel's party was re-elected, but the more profound changes to Germany's political landscape lie in the future - the CSU, the AfD and the FDP are rewriting the rule book for conservative parties. The SPD has refused to participate in a new Grand Coalition. Merkel faces an uphill battle to build a coalition, assume the chancellorship and maintain political stability.

This election was not a sigh of relief for many Germans - it was a signal of the difficulties to come, says Schuster-Craig.

An expert on Germany, Angela Merkel and German politics, Schuster-Craig can be reached at  (517) 355-4760 or [email protected].