German police officers stand in front of right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) office during a demonstration against austerity and racism in Berlin, Germany Sept. 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos
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Voting began Sunday in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where polls project the anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party will make huge gains amid growing discontent with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door refugee policy.Voters already punished Merkel in three state elections in March, voting in droves for the AfD and rejecting Merkel's Christian Democrats.The AfD, founded two years after the last election in the state, is expected to capture 22 percent of the vote, the same as Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), junior partner in the state's ruling coalition, according to a poll by broadcaster ZDF.The Social Democrats, senior partners in the state's ruling coalition, are expected to win 28 percent of the vote, compared with 35.6 percent in the last state-wide election in 2011 .
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