German opposition seen winning state election

German center-left opposition nabs wafer-thin victory in state election, a setback for Merkel

Associated Press
Merkel's coalition loses German state vote
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks up after smelling at coffee beans during the opening tour of the 'International Green Week' in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. International Green Week opens to the public from Jan. 18 until Jan. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa, Michael Kappeler)

BERLIN (AP) -- German television is projecting a wafer-thin victory for the country's center-left opposition in a major state election — a setback to Chancellor Angela Merkel 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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