Germany begins voting with Merkel set for third term
BERLIN (AFP) - Germans began voting on Sunday with Chancellor Angela Merkel poised to win a third term, which would make her Europe's only major leader to survive its financial crisis although she could be forced into governing with her main rivals.
Polls opened at 8am (2pm Singapore time) with nearly 62 million voters called to cast ballots in Europe's top economy. Initial television estimates are expected shortly after booths close at 6pm (12 midnight Singapore time).
After shepherding Germany through the debt turmoil, Ms Merkel has emerged more popular than ever, proving a safe pair of hands as the crisis felled leaders in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.
Pollsters suggest that voters will re-elect the 59-year-old, whose nickname "Mutti" ("Mummy") can seem incongruous with her other often-used description as the world's most powerful woman.