Sept. 22 German Chancellor Angela Merkel cast her vote in the national election on Sunday, where she hopes to be re-elected for a third term. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION German Chancellor Angela Merkel cast her vote in the national election on Sunday (September 22). She walked the short distance from her home in central Berlin to the polling station at the city's Humboldt University, accompanied by her husband Joachim Sauer. German voters are expected to hand Merkel a third four-year term, but she may be forced into an awkward coalition with her leftist rivals following a surge in support for a new anti-euro party. Europe is closely watching Germany's first national election since the eruption of the euro zone debt crisis in 2009. Some hope Merkel will take a softer stance on struggling euro states such as Greece if she is pushed into a so-called grand coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD). But major policy shifts seem unlikely because the centre-left SPD, whose campaign stalled after a gaffe-prone start by its lead candidate Peer Steinbrueck, agrees with the thrust of Merkel's approach even as it accuses her of weak leadership. The most recent opinion polls show support for Merkel's conservative bloc - her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) - at around 39 percent, about 13 points ahead of the SPD, the second-biggest party. That virtually guarantees that Merkel, whose staunch defence of German interests during the crisis has sent her approval ratings soaring over 60 percent, will stay on as chancellor.