Bavarians have been going to the polls in regional elections.
The current conservative government, led by Horst Seehofer, is expected to get a majority.
His CDU party is an ally of Chancellor Merkel’s and a win would give her CDU party a boost a week before national elections
The main challenger is the Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, from the centre-left SPD. Polls predict they will get around 18 percent.
Ude has said he would form a coalition with the Greens and another small party, the Free Voters. However all three parties together were still trailing behind the CSU in the polls.
The CSU has been in power for decades in Bavaria.
It lost its majority in 2008 ,and formed a coalition with the liberal FDP party. The latest polls suggest they will get at least 47 percent, giving them back their absolute majority.
Voting finishes at 1600 local time, and the first results are due to be announced shortly after 1800