The Latest: Center-left incumbent leading German state vote

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2017 12:17 PM
The Latest: Center-left incumbent leading German state vote

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the nationally significant election in Germany's Lower Saxony state (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

The center-left Social Democrats are projected to win a vote in Germany's northern state of Lower Saxony.

Projections by public broadcaster ARD based on initial results put the Social Democrats of Lower Saxony's incumbent governor Stephan Weil ahead with 37.5 percent of the vote. Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats had 35 percent.

The Green Party was projected to receive 8.5 percent of the vote, meaning its current coalition with the Social Democrats wouldn't have enough seats to form a new government.

The ARD forecasts show the free market FDP party with 7 percent of the vote and the nationalist Alternative for Germany 5.5 percent. If the numbers hold it will be turnaround for the Social Democrats, which lost three state elections and last month's national election in Germany.

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11:50 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party is aiming to unseat the incumbent center-left governor in Lower Saxony for a fourth straight victory in state elections this year.

Sunday's vote in the northern state was called after the ruling coalition between Social Democrats and Greens lost its one-seat majority in July.

Merkel's Christian Democrats were slightly behind in recent polls, a fact attributed partly to local party leader Bernd Althusmann's low profile compared to that of governor Stephan Weil.

About 6.1 million voters are called upon to vote in Lower Saxony, which has a large agriculture industry but is also home to German automaker Volkswagen.

Merkel's center-right party came out top in last month's national election, but formal talks on forming a coalition were put on hold until after Lower Saxony's vote.