German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves at an election rally in Brilon, western Germany on May 10, 2017. / AFP / dpa / Bernd Thissen
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Germany's most populous state goes to the polls Sunday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's party aiming to extend a winning streak that could seriously damage her rival before national elections.One in five German voters -- 13.1 million -- will cast ballots in North Rhine-Westphalia, a sprawling industrial region with a big migrant population which has been a Social Democratic Party (SPD) stronghold for 17 years.But surveys show the centre-left party running neck and neck with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), adding to indications that initial enthusiasm for new SPD leader and challenger Martin Schulz could be fizzling out.That, however, failed to translate into votes in the last two state elections, when the SPD took a hammering and the CDU won comfortably.With much at stake four months before national elections, both Merkel and Schulz are pounding the streets in NRW where 18 million people live, including 4.2 million of migrant origin.- Schulz touts SPD record --
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