German parties rally supporters ahead of Sunday election

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s political parties are preparing to rally their supporters and win over undecided voters ahead of a national election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after 16 years in power. Merkel’s center-right Union bloc has made small gains in the polls in recent weeks but remains narrowly behind the center-left Social Democrats. The Greens are trailing in third place, but could play kingmakers when it comes to forming a governing coalition. Experts say one of the reasons why this year’s German election is closer and less predictable than usual is the fact that the candidates are relative unknowns compared with Merkel, who won four successive terms and governed with alternating partners.