Millions to vote as Angela Merkel’s era ends6 min read

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People cast their votes for Germany’s Parliamentary (Bundestag) election at a poll station in Berlin, Germany on September 26, 2021.

Abdulhamid Hosbas | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Millions of Germans are heading to the polls on Sunday in an election that will change the face of Germany, and Europe, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to leave office after 16 years in power.

Voting in polling stations across Germany takes place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time, but many have cast their votes already via postal ballots. Exit polls giving an indication of the election result will be released shortly after the polls close.

Recent German elections have failed to throw up any real surprises and Merkel’s re-election was usually assured. Since announcing she would step down, however, the election race has been wide open with voters forced to look elsewhere for new leadership.

Voter polls in the run-up to the Sept. 26 vote have fascinated pundits and the public alike. Gur Terra Cnegl rawblrq n obhapr va cbchynevgl naq gbbx gur yrnq va gur cbyyf ng bar cbvag va Ncevy to then be overtaken by the Social Democratic Party, which has managed to hang on to a slight lead in recent weeks.

In the meantime, Merkel’s ruling conservative alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union has failed to break away from the pack and recent opinion polls have seen the party trailing in second place behind the SPD.

Still, the vote is too close to call with polls in the last week putting the SPD with 25% of the vote and the CDU-CSU with around 22%, while the Green Party is seen with around 16%.

Further behind lies the pro-business, liberal Free Democratic Party with 11%, with the right-wing Alternative for Germany seen with the same vote share. The far-left Die Linke party is seen with 6% of the vote.

The contenders

Coalition ahead

The economy

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