Germany sets election date

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iol news pic Belgium EU Budget~15 AP German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Berlin - Germany's parliamentary election, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a third term, will be held on September 22, President Joachim Gauck's office confirmed Friday.

Merkel's cabinet had on Wednesday officially suggested the date - the Sunday that marks the start of autumn this year in Germany - and the confirmation by Gauck was seen as a formality.

A state election in Hesse is expected on the same day, and an election in Bavaria state is expected on September 15.

In the election Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its junior coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), will seek to stay in power.

Their challengers are the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), whose chancellor-candidate is former finance minister Peer Steinbrueck, and its preferred coalition partners the Greens. - Sapa-dpa

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