Germans start to vote for new parliament as Merkel bids for 4th term

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-24 14:44:29|Editor: Mengjie
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A man casts his ballot at a polling station in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 24, 2017. Germany's general elections kicked off on Sunday morning. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)

BERLIN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- More than 61 million German voters were called to cast ballots on Sunday to pick their Bundestag, or federal parliament, on which a new government will be formed.

About 73,500 polling stations across the country opened at 8:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) and will be closed at 6:00 p.m. (1600 GMT).

Polling institutions will interview voters anonymously at the exit of selected polling stations, and will publish the initial results exactly after the election ends.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU conservative alliance is expected to win most votes. It is also expected to see the far-right anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) enter the parliament for the first time since World War II.

German election rule sets a five-percent-vote hurdle for parties to be elected in the Bundestag.