Polls close to choose Merkel's successor

New leadership will be decided in Germany's parliamentary elections after polls closed at 6 p.m. local time. The outcome will ultimately determine who replaces Angela Merkel after 16 years as Chancellor.

Opinion polls show that Sunday's election will be a close race between the center-left Social Democratic Party and the coalition of Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union. They are followed by the environmentalist Greens.

The new chancellor is expected to be selected as a result of coalition talks, as none of the parties is likely to win a majority.

The qualities and abilities of the party leaders will be looked at closely, as Merkel exerted her presence as a European leader with an emphasis on multilateralism.

The German election is also attracting a high level of interest around the world.

Vote-counting will start after the ballot closes. But it may take longer than usual for the results to become known as there have been a large number of postal votes due to the pandemic.