German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) prepares to welcome her guest, Georgia's Prime Minister, at the Chancellery in Berlin on September 27, 2017. / AFP / Tobias SCHWARZ
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, freshly re-elected but with no clear majority, is hoping for a regional poll victory Sunday for her conservatives before she starts perilous coalition talks next week.The goal is to form Germany's first coalition government grouping Merkel's restive conservative camp, the liberal and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the left-leaning and environmentalist Greens.Before Merkel launches into those nightmare negotiations next Wednesday, she once more hits the campaign trail to support her Christian Democrats (CDU) in the western state of Lower Saxony."The goal is a strong CDU," declared Merkel ahead of a string of stump speeches in Germany's fourth most populous state, which is home to auto giant Volkswagen. Her party is running neck-and-neck there with the governing Social Democrats (SPD) -- who are badly in need of a win after a heavy defeat at the national level that sent its leader Martin Schulz into opposition.The snap election was forced when the government of SPD state premier Stephan Weil lost its wafer-thin majority due to the defection of a lawmaker of its coalition partner the Greens to the CDU.
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