Merkel's CDU party wins tight battle in key state
Chancellor Angela Merkel's party won elections in Lower Saxony state and its Free Democratic coalition partner was buoyed by an unexpected surge in support eight months before federal elections.
Yet television projections suggested Ms Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the FDP fell one seat short of the majority needed to continue their coalition. The result gives the CDU the first chance to form a coalition, with one option being a grand coalition with the opposition Social Democrats, like the one headed nationally by Merkel in her first term from 2005 to 2009.
Yesterday's Lower Saxony vote is important for Ms Merkel as she prepares to seek a third term in elections in September.