Votes cast in key German state
May 15, 2017 | 12:32 PM
by Times TV

It's described as the state that represents Germany's pulse - a key indicator of which way the country is voting.

North Rhine Westphalia, with 18 million residents, makes up about 20 per cent of the national population.

It's the most populous of Germany's 16 states and the biggest contributor to GDP.

So as some 13 million people go to the polls here on Sunday (May 14), the rest of the country sits up and pays attention.

Being part of the ruling coalition here means having influence in federal legislation.

The ruling coalition has six representatives at the 69-seat Bundesrat upper house of parliament.

The house can propose new federal law and block those passed by the nationally elected lower house of parliament - the Bundestag.

North Rhine Westphalia has been governed by a center-left coalition of the Social Democrats and the Greens since 2010.

But Angela Merkels' Christian Democrats are campaigning hard here, to win a place in this ever-important area.

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