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Final rallies in Germany before Sunday’s knife-edge vote

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Germany’s election is too close to call, with the latest polls putting the two main parties fighting to come out top almost neck and neck.

Polls suggest an unusually tight race between outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU and the Social Democrats.

Politicians vying to replace her are to make their final appeals to voters on the last day of campaigning.

Mrs Merkel has dominated German politics for 16 years as chancellor.

She is due to appear at a rally alongside her party’s candidate to replace her, Armin Laschet, in the city in Aachen on Saturday.

Mrs Merkel had vowed to avoid the election campaign, but her party has lost what was a comfortable lead in the polls and is now trailing just behind the Social Democrats – the junior partners in the current coalition government.

The Green Party is on course to come third, but could still feature in government; analysts say a wide range of coalitions could be technically possible, if politically tricky, to negotiate.

The SPD’s success is largely attributed to its candidate, current Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who exudes the same understated calm many have admired in Angela Merkel, says the BBC’s Jenny Hill in the capital, Berlin.

But there are a range of issues at the forefront of voters’ minds, including climate change. On Friday, tens of thousands of young activists marched throughout the country to demand greater action to tackle global warming. Climate change has been a central theme in the election campaign.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told crowds in Berlin that no political party was doing nearly enough to fight the climate crisis.

Photo: Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party chairman and top candidate for the upcoming federal elections Armin Laschet (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) during the election campaign closing of the CDU in Aachen, Germany, 25 September 2021. The election for the 20th German Bundestag will take place on 26 September 2021. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL

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