Berlin: Federal elections in Germany, Europe's top economy and political powerhouse, will be held on September 22, the country's president said, with Chancellor Angela Merkel bidding for a third term.
President Joachim Gauck rubber stamped the date proposed by the cabinet on Wednesday.
Gauck's decision came as a new poll showed Merkel's lead over her rival Social Democrats (SPD) has narrowed slightly.
The weekly "DeutschlandTrend" survey for public broadcaster ARD put Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc on 39 per cent, down one percentage point from a week back. The centre-left SPD gained two percentage points to register 29 per cent.
However, Germany's complex coalition-based political system means that although Merkel is likely to remain chancellor, if the polls stay the same, she may have to change coalition partner.
Her current partner, the pro-business Free Democrats, polled four per cent, leaving them just short of the required five per cent for parliamentary representation.
The SPD's preferred partner, the ecologist Greens, polled 15 per cent of the vote in the survey, giving them a combined total of 44 per cent, meaning the race could yet be very close.
Merkel has suffered a series of political setbacks since the beginning of the year.
In January, her conservative bloc narrowly lost a key regional election in the northeastern state of Lower Saxony after a decade in power.
And in recent days, Education Minister and close ally Annette Schavan has come under pressure to resign after being stripped of her doctorate when her former university concluded parts of it had been plagiarised.
The survey had consulted 1,000 voters between February 5 and 6.


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