BERLIN (AP) -- German election officials say early indications of turnout in the country's national poll Sunday showed more voters casting their ballots than in 2009.
The Federal Returning Officer said 41.4 percent of eligible voters had voted by 2 p.m. (1200 GMT), four hours before polling stations closed.
In 2009 about 36.1 percent had voted by that hour
The final turnout of 70.8 percent in the last general election was a record low in post-war Germany.
Experts say a higher turnout could help the Social Democratic Party, whose leader Peer Steinbrueck is hoping to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Opinion polls published shortly before the election gave Merkel's conservative coalition a thin lead over the left-leaning opposition.