German parties wrestle for Merkel’s crown after knife-edge election

BERLIN — Leaders of Germany’s two dominant political parties — the center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats — both laid claim to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mantel on Sunday after a too-close-to-call election that left the pair just fractions apart. 

Early projections had the two camps in a virtual dead heat. According to public broadcaster ARD, the Social Democrats (SPD) lead slightly at 25.2 percent, with the Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), at 24.6 percent.

Whatever the final result, the CDU under party leader and chancellor candidate Armin Laschet were on course for their worst result since World War II. Nonetheless,

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