Merkel's coalition loses German state vote

Posted: 01/20/13 at 8:40 pm EST

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's center-left opposition has won a wafer-thin victory over Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition in a major state election -- dealing her a setback as she seeks a third term later this year.

The opposition coalition of Social Democrats and Greens won a single-seat majority in the state legislature in Lower Saxony, a region of 8 million people in northwestern Germany.

The state has been run for a decade by a coalition of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union and the pro-market Free Democrats, the same parties that form the national government.

The 58-year-old Merkel will seek another four-year term in a national parliamentary election expected in September. She and her party are riding high in national polls, but the opposition hopes the Lower Saxony vote shows that she is vulnerable.

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