Merkel's party keeps lead, coalition ally down

BERLIN - Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives has nudged higher, an opinion poll showed on Sunday, but the weakness of two smaller parties highlights the trouble she may face building another centre-right coalition after Germany's 2013 election.
The Emnid poll conducted for the Bild on Sunday newspaper showed the conservatives up one percentage point at 36 percent but their junior coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), down one point at 4 percent, below the 5 percent threshold for entering parliament.
Merkel may also be vulnerable to a slowing economy as the euro zone debt crisis drags on, though opinion polls show steady voter support for her handling of the crisis and her insistence on heavily indebted states implementing tough reforms
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