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Center-left wins Berlin state elections; upstart Pirate Party wins seats, their first German
BERLIN (AP) ' Preliminary results show that voters in Berlin have returned the center-left Social Democratic mayor to his seat, while the technology-friendly Pirate Party has made its debut in a German legislature.
Initial returns from Sunday's vote show the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's national coalition, the Free Democrats, failing to win representation in the Berlin's regional legislature. That is their fifth loss at the regional level this year.
Mayor Klaus Wowereit's Social Democrats won 28.5 percent of the vote and will have to build a new coalition in Berlin. Potential partners are Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, with 23 percent, or the pro-environment Greens, with 18.5 percent of the vote.
The Pirate Party won 9 percent. Berlin is both a city and a state in Germany.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
BERLIN (AP) ' Berlin's state election is being viewed as a test for the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's national coalition, the Free Democrats, and a chance for the technology-friendly Pirate Party to make its debut in Germany.
If the Free Democrats fail to make it into the regional legislature ' Berlin is both a city and a state ' in Sunday balloting, it would be their fifth loss at the regional level this year.
In the last week of the campaign, the FDP focused on the unpopularity of bailouts for other eurozone countries, causing a rift with Merkel's conservatives.
Polls have shown Merkel's Christian Democrats in second place in Berlin, behind the Social Democrats, whose candidate for mayor Klaus Wowereit, appears poised to win a third five-year term.