FILE - In this Jan 4, 2013 file photo, Stephan Weil, right, Social Democratic top candidate for the state elections in Lower Saxony, and Peer Steinbrueck, Chancellor Angela Merkel's cha

 

              FILE - In this Jan 4, 2013 file photo, Stephan Weil, right, Social Democratic top candidate for the state elections in Lower Saxony, and Peer Steinbrueck, Chancellor Angela Merkel
FILE - In this Jan 4, 2013 file photo, Stephan Weil, right, Social Democratic top candidate for the state elections in Lower Saxony, and Peer Steinbrueck, Chancellor Angela Merkel's challenger in the upcoming general elections, during a election campaign rally in Emden, northern Germany. Merkel is riding high in polls as she seeks a third term at the head of Europe's biggest economy. But a major state election this weekend may lift her center-left rivals' hopes of defying the odds and ousting her as Germany's leader. The Sunday balloting is one of only two significant electoral tests before national parliamentary elections. Recent polls in Lower Saxony show the Social Democrats and Greens neck-and-neck with Merkel's party and the Free Democrats. (AP Photo/dapd, Joerg Sarbach, File)