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Merkel Party Expected to Face Election Loss in Berlin

A man casts his vote in the city-state election at a polling station in Berlin September 18, 2011.

Voters in Germany's capital of Berlin are going to the polls Sunday in a state election that is expected to deal Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives a resounding defeat.

Opinion polls show that center-left Social Democrat mayor for the last decade, Klaus Wowereit, is expected to easily win a third term, with Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats coming in a distant second or third.

Merkel is halfway through a four-year term, and election setbacks for her party could weaken her hand before a crucial vote in parliament on euro zone measures at the end of the month.

Early results are expected soon after polls close at 1700 UTC.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.