Germany election and Angela Merkel news

By Aditi Sangal, Fernando Alfonso III, Mike Hayes and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 6:56 p.m. ET, September 26, 2021
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10:15 a.m. ET, September 26, 2021

Leading candidates urge voters to cast their ballots

From Alex Carey

Armin Laschet, left, went to vote with his wife Susanne at a polling station in Aachen, Germany.
Armin Laschet, left, went to vote with his wife Susanne at a polling station in Aachen, Germany. (Federico Gambarini/dpa/AP Images)

Several of the party leaders called on the public to head to polling stations and cast their ballots in the parliamentary elections in Germany on Sunday.

The CDU's Armin Laschet told reporters: “We all feel that this is a very important federal election, an election that decides the direction of Germany in the next few years, and that is why every vote counts, and that is why I hope that everyone will use their right to go to the polls, so that democrats can elect a new government in the end.”

Olaf Scholz speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station in Potsdam, Germany.
Olaf Scholz speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station in Potsdam, Germany. (John Macdougal/AFP/Getty Images)

Olaf Scholz, leader of the left-leaning SPD, said he hoped Germans would give him the mandate to become the next chancellor.

"Now I hope that as many citizens as possible will go to the polls and cast their votes and make possible what has become apparent, namely that there will be a very strong result for the SPD. And that the citizens give me the mandate to become the next chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany," he said.

Annalena Baerbock leaves after casting her vote in Potsdam.
Annalena Baerbock leaves after casting her vote in Potsdam. (Clemens Bilan/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Meanwhile, Annalena Baerbock, the chancellory candidate for the Green Party, also made some brief remarks after casting her vote in her hometown of Potsdam on Sunday afternoon.

She asked people to cast their votes in order to enter a new era and emphasized the importance of democracy.  

"Every vote will count in this election, as we have seen in the last few weeks and how close it will be. Of course, we hope for a few more votes in view of the poll results so that we can create a real new beginning in this country," she said.

9:55 a.m. ET, September 26, 2021

It's election day in Germany

By CNN's Rob Picheta, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Alex Carey and Nadine Schmidt

A couple dressed in traditional Bavarian costume arrive at a polling station in Oberammergau, Germany on Sunday, September 26.
A couple dressed in traditional Bavarian costume arrive at a polling station in Oberammergau, Germany on Sunday, September 26. (Angelika Warmuth/dpa/AP)

Germans are voting in a knife-edge parliamentary elections Sunday to find out who will eventually take charge of the country and replace Angela Merkel, who has spent the last 16 years as chancellor.

The race to become Merkel's successor is tight, and the ultimate victor may not be known for days or even weeks after polls close.

Latest polling on Saturday suggested the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) hold a small but narrow lead over Merkel's party, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Why the vote matters: Merkel has been a stabilizing force in Europe since she took on the role in 2005.

The chemist-turned-political mainstay has withstood a wave of populism, a financial crisis, a pandemic and Brexit to carve out an impressive legacy as the world's most successful female leader.

Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the result of this election will matter for European and global economies. Around 60.4 million people aged 18 and above are eligible to vote in Sunday's ballot, according to figures from Germany's Federal Statistics Office.

Key moment to watch for: Poll stations opened at 8 a.m. local (2 a.m. ET) and will close at 6 p.m. local (12 p.m. ET), with exit polls expected almost immediately after.