Germany goes to vote as Merkel eyes third term
BERLIN (AFP) - Germans voted on Sunday in a closely watched election that is likely to hand Chancellor Angela Merkel a third term at the helm of Europe's top economy but may force her to govern with her main rivals.
After shepherding Germany through Europe's lengthy financial turmoil, Dr Merkel has emerged more popular than ever, seen as a safe pair of hands as the crisis felled leaders in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.
Polls suggest that voters will re-elect the 59-year-old pastor's daughter from East Germany, whose nickname "Mutti" ("Mummy") can seem at odds with her billing as the world's most powerful woman.
But the burning question is whether she will be able to keep her preferred coalition partner or be forced into an alliance with her centre-left rivals.