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Germany votes

6.45pm: Click to watch Angela Merkel's victory speech (translated into English).

5.45pm: Dan Hamilton has just emailed in the exit poll:

                       2009                2005        
      33.5%              (35.2%)      
        23.5%              (34.2%)      
        14.5%              (9.8%)      
       10.0%             (8.1%)      
Left Party    
        13.0%             (8.7%)      
        5.5%              (4.0%)       
I think it’s likely to be enough for the right.
Germany has a threshold of 5% (or winning three constituency seats) so there should be enough parties under that to ensure that the CDU and FDP get (just) over 50% in terms of parliamentary representation. By my calculations, the full exit results the Merkel coalition on 48% and the lefties on 46.5%.
Germany’s exit polls have historically been very accurate – Forschungsgruppe have been out by an (enviable) margin of 0.25% in the last three elections.

3.30pm: The BBC website has some (caricatured) photographs of Germany voting.

Noon: A jet-lagged Merkel held an eve-of-poll rally in East Berlin last night after returning from Pittsburgh.  Concerns had been raised that her absence from the campaign for 72 hours had contributed to the CDU's slippage in the polls. Telegraph report.

Picture 6

10.30am: UKPollingReport reminds us that German polls "performed very poorly" last time - overstating the CDU lead by 6% to 8%. 

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