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German cabinet proposes 24 September election date

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet have agreed on 24 September as a date for parliamentary elections. The German president will now make the final decision.

After a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning in Berlin, the German government settled on the last Sunday in September as a suggestion for the general election. German President Joachim Gauck must now officially accept the proposed date. 

The election will be for the 19th session of the Bundestag, Germany's national parliament. All the current 630 representatives will be up for election, though the exact size of the future chamber depends on Germany's complex proportional representation system. 

The elections will be watched worldwide to see whether Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will continue to hold the largest number of seats in the parliament, and therefore be in the strongest position to form a government. Also awaited is whether the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party will pass the five percent hurdle and enter the legislative assembly for the first time. 

Runners compete at the Berlin marathon in Berlin (REUTERS)

The election date coincides with the Berlin marathon

Running into trouble?

By law, national parliamentary elections take place regularly every four years. The election date must fall on a Sunday or a federal holiday. 

Nearly all the federal states of Germany voiced their support for the September 24 polling date. The City of Berlin, however, expressed concern as that Sunday coincides with the Berlin Marathon. Around 40,000 runners will descend on the city with hundreds of thousands more observing the race. Most of the center will be closed to cars, which could present a logistical nightmare for residents trying to vote. 

The Berlin city senate and the Marathon organization are currently reviewing whether the marathon could take place as planned.

cmb (dpa, AFP)

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