Secretary General of Germany's social democratic SPD party Lars Klingbeil (AFP)
BERLIN: The general secretary of the center-left Social Democrats says he believes his party has been given a mandate to form a ruling coalition, based on exit polls in Germany's general election.
Lars Klingbeil was speaking moments after the exit polls were published by the two main television channels on Sunday.
In a poll by the ZDF channel, the SPD was slightly ahead of its main rival, the center-right Union bloc, 26 per cent to 24 per cent. In the poll published by the ARD channel, the parties pulled even at 25 per cent.
The polls suggested significant gains for the Social Democrats, compared to its standing earlier this year, and a sharp drop for the Union bloc. Klingbeil says the party now "has the mission to form a coalition," and for its top candidate, Olaf Scholz to become chancellor.