Europe

Merkel's party faces losses in state vote in German capital

  • Alternative for Germany party chairman Joerg Meuthen, left, and Georg Pazderski, AfD's State Chairman and top candidate for Alternative for Germany for the state elections in Berlin, celebrate after the first exit polls were published in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)

    Alternative for Germany party chairman Joerg Meuthen, left, and Georg Pazderski, AfD's State Chairman and top candidate for Alternative for Germany for the state elections in Berlin, celebrate after the first exit polls were published in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Top candidate for the Social Democrats and governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller, right, and his wife Claudia cast their votes in a polling station for the German federal state Berlin elections in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Voters in Berlin are casting ballots in a state election predicted to result in a fresh setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party. (Rainer Jensen/dpa via AP)

    Top candidate for the Social Democrats and governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller, right, and his wife Claudia cast their votes in a polling station for the German federal state Berlin elections in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Voters in Berlin are casting ballots in a state election predicted to result in a fresh setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party. (Rainer Jensen/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Top candidate for the Social Democrats and governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller reacts at the party's main election event after first results were announced in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Exit polls show the Social Democrats and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party emerged from Berlin state elections as the strongest two parties, but lost enough support they won't be able to continue a coalition government together. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Top candidate for the Social Democrats and governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller reacts at the party's main election event after first results were announced in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Exit polls show the Social Democrats and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party emerged from Berlin state elections as the strongest two parties, but lost enough support they won't be able to continue a coalition government together. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

Voters in the German state of Berlin are casting ballots in a state election predicted to result in a fresh setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party.

Her Christian Democratic Union has been the junior coalition partner to the center-left Social Democrats in the capital for the past five years.

The city of 3.5 million has experienced a population boom during that time, putting pressure on housing, schools and its transport infrastructure.

The influx of tens of thousands of migrants over the past year has also become a campaign issue, though to a lesser degree than in other, less cosmopolitan parts of the country.

Pollsters forecast that the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany will easily pass the 5-percent threshold to enter the Berlin state assembly for the first time, its 10th nationwide.