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Merkel's center-right could fall short of majority: poll

Teenagers pass election posters of Social Democratic top candidate Peer Steinbrueck (SPD) (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in H
Teenagers pass election posters of Social Democratic top candidate Peer Steinbrueck (SPD) (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in H

BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel's center-right coalition slipped behind Germany's combined center-left opposition parties in a poll published on Wednesday, indicating her conservatives would be unable to form a majority with their Free Democrat partners.

In an Allensbach poll for the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily, the chancellor's conservatives shed a point to 39 percent while the FDP were steady at 6 percent, giving a combined 45 percent for the center-right.

The main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) gained one point to 26 percent and their Greens partners weakened to 11 percent from 12.5. The hardline Left rose 1.5 points to 9 percent.

That would give the opposition a combined 46 percent - but the SPD and Greens both rule out a coalition with the Left, meaning one possible scenario is that Merkel could have to team up with the SPD in a repeat of the 2005-2009 'grand coalition'.

(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson)

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