Polls open in Germany’s election to end Merkel era

Germans began voting Sunday in a watershed national election that will mark the end of 16 years in power for Angela Merkel and determine who will follow her as chancellor.

Polls opened at 0600 GMT and will finish at 1600 GMT, with previous surveys showing centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) candidate Olaf Scholz with a razor-thin lead against Armin Laschet of Merkel’s CDU-CSU conservative alliance.

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Germany’s parliamentary elections are begun, and just one thing is certain: The era of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been in office for 16 years, is coming to an end. The race for her replacement remains wide open. Two parties are battling it out on top: Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union and the center-left Social Democratic Party. The Greens are behind in the polls but retain a key force in prospective post-election efforts to build a coalition administration.

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