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German opposition seen winning state election

Merkel-election  television is projecting a wafer-thin victory for the country’s center-left in a major state election — a setback to Chancellor ahead of a national vote later this year.

With votes from most constituencies in Lower Saxony state counted, projections Sunday from ARD and ZDF television showed a single-seat majority for the opposition Social Democrats and Greens over Merkel’s center-right coalition.

Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany 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 a third, four-year term in a parliamentary election expected in September.

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