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Likely boost for Merkel's coalition

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Likely boost for Merkel's coalition

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Elections in three German states today are seen as the first electoral test for Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. Analysts, however, say the polls are expected to shore up support for the delicately-balanced government of CDU conservatives and SPD Social Democrats. Today’s polls are in the wealthy states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Pfaltz and the poorer eastern region of Saxony Anhalt.

The CDU premier of Saxony Anhalt, Wolfgang Boehmer, and the CDU premier of Baden-Wuerttemburg, Guenther Oettinger, are expected to be returned to office. Also expected to return to office is Rhineland-Pfaltz’s SPD premier, Kurt Beck. Observers say the polls mark the end of Merkel’s grace period, and she will now have to focus on tricky reforms.