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Merkel allies brace for big setback in German state election

BERLIN (AP) — This weekend’s state election in Bavaria has been casting a long shadow over German politics for the past year — and the aftershocks could cause more turbulence for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s struggling national government.

Polls suggest that Bavaria’s center-right Christian Social Union party, which has run the region for 61 years, is heading for its worst performance since the 1950s on Sunday. It appears to be losing voters despite enviable prosperity and rock bottom 2.8-percent unemployment.

The socially conservative party is an important but often-awkward sister to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.

Though the CSU is unlikely to lose power in Bavaria altogether, a result like the one pollsters are forecasting would be humiliating. Speculation is rife that party leader and Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, could be forced out.

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