Social Democrats in strong position as German campaign enters final week

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BERLIN — As the clock winds down on Germany’s election campaign, it looks increasingly likely that Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats will be exiting the halls of power with the chancellor, clearing the way for the first center-left-led government in 16 years. 

With less than a week until next Sunday’s general election, the conservative bloc Merkel has dominated since the early 2000s, the so-called Union, remains well behind the first-placed Social Democrats (SPD), a trend that has remained unchanged for weeks. With many Germans having already voted via postal ballot, a last-minute shift is unlikely.

During the final debate of the

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