Germany votes with Merkel set for third term

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On Sunday, Germany holds national elections.
Voting has begun in Germany\’s elections, with Chancellor Angela Merkel vying for a third term in charge of Europe\’s most powerful economy.
Chancellor Angela Merkel\’s center-left party (CDU/CSU) is poised to get the most votes, which puts her in a position to win another four-year term in office.
But Merkel\’s current coalition may not win the absolute majority needed to form a government and she may have to seek alliance with another group.
"Social Democrats will get round about 25-28 percent, probably just under 30 percent of the vote. So if she formed a coalition with the leader of Social Democrats, Steinbrueck, she of course, would have a huge majority in parliament, that is the so-called Grand Coalition and both together would well be able to govern."
Chancellor Merkel formed a grand coalition with the Social Democrats in her first term that began in 2005. But if the Social Democrats win enough seats on their own in Sunday\’s election, they could form a coalition with the Greens and force her out of office.
If she stays in power, Merkel will become one of postwar Germany\’s longest-serving political leaders.
Voting opened at 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT) and is due to close at 16:00.
On Saturday, the last day of campaigning before election, Merkel urged voters to give her a strong support.
"I ask the people in Germany to give me a strong mandate, so that I can continue to serve Germany for another four years, for a stronger Germany, a country which is well respected in Europe, which defends its interests, but is also a friend of a lot of countries."
Meanwhile, her rival,  Steinbrueck, spent his final days on the road trying to convince voters that Merkel has stifled economic growth in the southern Eurozone states by insisting on far-reaching spending cuts. He urged voters Saturday not to pay to much attention to the polls.
"Still believe it. The voters decide – not commentary beforehand, not clairvoyance and it\’s not a game. Don\’t believe it\’s decided yet – it isn\’t. I would ask for the voters\’ decision to be respected, because it\’s them, not political polls or certain observers, who decide an election." 

Germany is Europe\’s strongest economy and the election will be closely watched across the continent. In southern Europe — and especially, Greece — Germany continues to be vilified as the country that has forced austerity on the European Union, and many single out Chancellor Merkel.

The election is one of the most important in years because of Germany\’s dominant role in the eurozone.
Source: Agencies
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German election could force Merkel into shaky coalitions
Germany holds its parliamentary elections Sunday, with current Chancellor Angela Merkel looking set to win a third term.
Merkel was out campaigning Saturday in a final push for votes.
"I ask the people in Germany to give me a strong mandate, so that I can continue to serve Germany for another four years, for a stronger Germany, a country which is well respected in Europe, which defends its interests, but is also a friend of a lot of countries."
But it could be a close fight for her center-right coalition to preserve its majority over the leftist opposition.
Polls show Merkel\’s conservative Christian Democratic party falling short of an absolute majority, while its current coalition partners, the Free Democrats, look set to lose seats. If that happens, Chancellor Merkel may end up joining her main leftist rivals, the Social Democrats, in a grand coalition of right and left. But if the Social Democrats win many seats, they could form a coalition with the Greens and force her out of office.
Many across Europe are watching the election. In southern Europe — and especially, Greece — Germany continues to be vilified as the country that has forced austerity on the EU, and many single out Merkel.
The Social Democrats\’ chancellor candidate, Peer Steinbrueck, has criticized Merkel for stifling growth in the southern Eurozone member states by insisting on far-reaching spending cuts.
He, too, campaigned on Saturday.
"And so, I am addressing all of you who have plans for this country, Germany, and who want to get out of the stalemate and want to bring some movement back into this country. I want to address all of you who want to invest in the future and solidarity of this country. I address all of you who say that this country must not only be administered, but also politically shaped. And I ask you for your trust to do this."
Source: Agencies

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