16-year-olds allowed to vote in German regional poll

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Sixteen-year-old Germans were allowed for the first time on Sunday to vote in a regional election as nearly half a million electors went to the polls in the state of Bremen, in northern Germany.

Voters have to be 18 and over to vote in the other 15 German states and in federal elections.

Those aged 16 and over are nevertheless allowed to vote in municipal elections in seven states.

The election result in Bremen, the smallest of Germany's states, was expected to return to power the outgoing ruling coalition of social-democrats (SPD) and Greens, while Angela Merkel's consevative Christian-Democrats were likely to be swept into third place, according to opinion polls.

Chancellor Merkel's allies in the federal government, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), were likely to lose all their seats in the regional assembly, opinion polls predicted.

Initial exit poll results were expected around 16H00 GMT.

© 2011 AFP

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