Germany votes as Merkel eyes third term as chancellor
By Kate Millar ,AFPBERLIN -- Germans voted 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.
September 23, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
After shepherding Germany through Europe's lengthy financial turmoil, 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 center-left rivals.
Under clear skies and mild temperatures, Merkel, dressed in an autumnal russet blazer and her customary tailored trousers, walked to a central Berlin polling station to vote, accompanied by husband Joachim Sauer.
Voters trickled through the university cafeteria to cast their ballots.
“I think we have a good standard of living in Europe, and for me, this must remain stable. So, to me, voting for the extremes, on the left or the right, isn't an answer,” Elisabeth Bauer, a nun, told AFP.
Marissa Kutscha, 26, admitted it had been a tough choice.
“I was extremely uncertain voting ... because not much differentiates the parties,” she said.