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Merkel's bloc stumbles badly in Germany; horse-trading ahead

Germany's centre-left Social Democrats and outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel 's centre-right bloc both laid claim Sunday to lead the country's next government as projections showed the long-time leader's party heading for its worst-ever result in a national election.

People queue to cast their ballots outside the Jane Addams School in Friedrichshain, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)