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Germans vote for Merkel’s successor

German voters cast their ballots in a close-knit general election on Sunday, in which the Social Democratic Party poses a major challenge to conservatives preparing for a post-Angela Merkel era.
Merkel has been in power since 2005 but plans to resign after the election, making the vote a pivotal event for Europe’s largest economy.
This means the convergence of results, the entry of the leading parties in consultations with each other before initiating formal negotiations to form a coalition that may take months, which keeps Merkel (67 years) in power as a caretaker.
As at an election rally in his home city of Aachen, Conservative candidate Armin Laschet said, standing next to Merkel, that forming a left-wing coalition led by the Social Democrats with the Greens and the German Left Party (known as Die Linke) would destabilize Europe.
“They want to get us out of NATO, they don’t want this alliance. They want another republic… I don’t want it to be in the next government,” said Laschet, 60.
Laschet is also competing in the elections, SPD candidate and finance minister Olaf Schulz in Merkel’s coalition, who has won all three television debates for the most prominent candidates.
Schultz, 63, did not rule out an alliance with Likne, but said NATO membership was a red line for his party.
The political scene indicates the possibility of forming a tripartite coalition. The latest voter polls gave the SPD a narrow lead, but the Conservatives have narrowed the gap in recent days and many voters have yet to make up their minds.
The closest scenarios indicate that the winner from the Social Democratic Party, the CDU and the Christian Social Union will form a coalition with the Greens and the Liberal Democrats.

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