DAVID McAllister, the half-Scottish Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, was struggling to hold on to power last night against a centre-left opposition showing it could yet mount a strong challenge to Angela Merkel's chancellorship in September's national polls.

After casting his vote yesterday alongside his wife Dunja, Mr McAllister, 42, who is the son of a soldier from Glasgow and is state leader of Ms Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), was confronted by exit polls showing the CDU as the biggest party in the swing state with 36%. But the chief victors of the evening appeared to be their Free Democrat (FDP) allies, who defied doomsayers to win 10%. That FDP success may have been at the cost of a decisive CDU result.

Mr McAllister has been talked about as a potential successor to Ms Merkel on the strength of his feisty campaign.

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Picture: EPA