Merkel Vies 3rd Term in Office in Germany ElectionsWorld | September 22, 2013, Sunday // 10:32| views
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is running for a third term to lead the most powerful economy in Europe. Photo EPA/BGNES
Germans are going to the polls Sunday to vote in key general elections in which current Chancellor Angela Merkel is running for a third term to lead the most powerful economy on the Old Continent.
Pollsters say results show that Merkel's Christian Democrats, (CDU/CSU) may take the largest number of seats in the German Parliament - the Bundestag, The BBC reports.
Merkel's coalition partners, however - the Free Democrats, (FDP) may not manage to reach the 5% threshold required to win Bundestag seats.
This could lead to a coalition with the Christian Democrats' main rival, the Social Democrats, (SDP), of Peer Steinbrueck. There is also a possible coalition with the Green parties.
Under another scenario, a new party largely formed from disaffected CDU members could get enough votes to be regarded as a different coalition partner. Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), as it is known, is avowedly anti-euro and could prove a difficult one, analysts say.
Polls opened at 8:00 am local time and will close at 4:00 pm.
Elections in Germany are often followed by a period of several weeks of coalition talks before the final shape of the government emerges, The BBC reminds.
According to an average of opinion polls, the CDU/CSU will get 38.6% of the vote to 25.8% for the SPD and 6.4% for the FDP.