Voting in Germany’s elections begins

Merkel will be Chancellor once again & right-wing AfD is expected to have around 50 seats

Voting has opened in Germany’s federal elections, with Chancellor Angela Merkel tipped to retain power.

She is seeking a fourth term in office and to keep her Christian Democrat party’s (CDU) status as the largest presence in Germany’s Bundestag.

The CDU’s coalition partner, the SPD, is its main opponent. The right-wing AfD is likely to gain seats in parliament for the first time.

Polling stations opened on Sunday at 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT) and close at 18:00.

The first exit polls are expected shortly after the close of voting.

The election is seen as important because it may result in six parties in the Bundestag – the German national parliament – for the first time since World War Two.

Such a result could mean a change in the makeup of the current governing coalition.