Angela Merkel is clinging on to power by her fingertips as talks to form a triple coalition government in Germany have failed.
Berlin is the latest capital to plunge into political chaos as a new wave of disruptive voting emerges in Europe and the US.
Populist votes have seen traditional parties crumble as first Donald Trump rode to the White House against all expectations.
Then David Cameron resigned after losing the Brexit vote in the UK, to be replaced by Theresa May, who gave away her majority in a disastrous General Election.
Merkel was expecting to lead a coalition between her Christian Democrats, the Greens and the FDP liberals after a recent general election left a hung parliament.
But over the weekend the FDP decided to pull the plug on talks.
No one wants to share power
Now Merkel is said to be readying for the uncertainty of another election rather than battle through on a diminished majority.
She had tried to share power with the Social Democrats, but leader Martin Schulz shunned her approaches, also welcoming a new election.
But President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is urging all parties to sit down and talk rather than go back to the polls.
“Inside our country, but also outside, in our European neighbourhood, there would be concern and a lack of understanding if politicians in the biggest and economically strongest country in Europe did not live up to their responsibilities,” he said.
The triple alliance would have given Merkel an unbeatable 393-seat majority in the 709-seat parliament.
End of the road for Merkel?
With the FDP dropping out, this falls to 313 seats.
The Social Democrats hold 153 seats.
Politicians fear a return to the polls may stoke the rise of the far right in Germany even more.
In the last election, the right-wing AfD party came from nowhere to clinch 94 seats, the first time the far right had a resurgence in the German parliament since the end of the Second World War.
Merkel, 63, has held on to the role as Chancellor for 12 years and led her party since 2000.
It may be German voters are shouting it’s time for change at the top, a cry that she will find difficult to ignore despite providing safe hands to steer Europe’s prime economy through the financial crisis.