Closely fought German election ushers in post-Merkel eraSunday, September 26, 2021
BERLIN (AP) — German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.
Polls point to a very close race Sunday between Merkel's centre-right Union bloc, with state governor Armin Laschet running for chancellor, and the centre-left Social Democrats, for whom outgoing finance minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz is seeking the top job.
Recent surveys show the Social Democrats marginally ahead. The environmentalist Greens, with candidate Annalena Baerbock, are making their first run for the chancellery, and polls put them several points behind in third place.
About 60.4 million people in the nation of 83 million are eligible to elect the new Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, which will elect the next head of government.
No party is expected to come anywhere near an outright majority. Polls show support for all of them below 30%.
Such a result could mean that many governing coalitions are mathematically possible, and trigger weeks or months of haggling to form a new government. Until it is in place, Merkel will remain in office on a caretaker basis.