AN EXIT POLL has suggested a neck-and-neck race between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative-led coalition and the centre-left opposition in a major state election that marks a significant test ahead of national elections later this year.
The ARD television exit poll showed Merkel’s Christian Democrats winning 36 per cent in today’s election for a new state legislature in Lower Saxony. Their junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, won 10 per cent.
The opposition Social Democrats and Greens hope to oust them from the regional government; the exit poll put their support at 32.5 and 13.5 per cent respectively – putting each of the two sides on 46 per cent.
Merkel will seek a third four-year term in a federal election due to take place in September at the latest. The opposition hoped for a boost from Lower Saxony.