>> Casting their votes in an election seen as a test for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Heading to the polls in the small western state of Saarland on Sunday, the result could hurt Merkel's prospects of winning a fourth term in the national election, later this year. It's the first of three regional votes, ahead of the federal votes on the 24th of September, delivering a real opportunity for the parties to build, or lose momentum in their quest to prevail at national level.
It's the first real test for the Social Democrats under their new leader Martin Schultz. He's re-energized the center left party with a promise to tackle inequality that's resonating with many voters who are tired of Merkel. Like federal Germany, Saaland is currently governed by a grand coalition of Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrat Party.
But polls suggest a left leaning red red green alliance of the SPD, the far left Linker Party and the environmentalist Greens. Or even a red red coalition, if the greens fail to win enough votes.