Germans head to the polls today for the country’s Federal elections, in a key test for Angela Merkel.

She is seeking a fourth term as chancellor, and to retain her Christian democrat party’s status as the largest presence in Germany’s bundestag.

The CDU’s coalition partner, the SPD, is its main opponent in the election.

Polling stations will be open from 08:00 a.m. Local time until 6:00.p.m.

The first exit polls are expected shortly after the close of voting.

The election is seen as important because it may result in six parties in the bundestag the German national parliament for the first time since world war two.

Such a result could mean a change in the makeup of the current governing coalition.

Some 61.5 million people aged over 18 are eligible to vote in federal elections, which are held every four years.

There are two separate votes one for a candidate in their constituency, and one for their preferred political party.