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Germany expected to re-elect Merkel, far-right on way to parliament

Staff Writer | September 24, 2017
Polling stations opened across Germany on Sunday in an election that is expected to grant Angela Merkel, the country's long-serving chancellor, a fourth term in office.
Germany election
Germany   The long-serving chancellor
The election could see the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) enter parliament for the first time.

Having led Germany through a calm and prosperous 12 years, Merkel has run a campaign built on a promise to keep things more or less the same at a time of unprecedented instability within the EU and a potentially seismic shift in trans-Atlantic relations.

Some 61.5 million people are eligible to cast their ballots in the election, in which Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) are expected to win between 34 and 36%, according to the latest polling data from Friday.

The CDU can hope for a narrow majority with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), or the environmentalist Greens, or an untried coalition with both. The FDP and the Greens are polling at 9 and 8% respectively.

Alternatively, the CDU will continue its so-called grand coalition of the biggest parties with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has seen its support erode to a historic low of between 21 and 22%.

The AfD is expected to win between 11 and 13% on Sunday, after having narrowly failed to clear the 5% hurdle to enter parliament in 2013.

It is the first time in 60 years that a far-right party will be represented in the Bundestag.

The polls are set to close at 6 pm (1600 GMT) and first projected results will be broadcast at the same time.