(Bloomberg) -- In-person voter turnout in Germany’s federal election stood at 36.5% at 2 p.m. on Sunday, trailing the participation rate recorded four years ago. In 2017, 41.4% of eligible voters had cast their vote at the same time. 

The lower figure in comparison to 2017 is no surprise “because we expect a markedly higher share of postal voters,” Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel said in a statement, adding postal voters’ “turnout will be calculated later when determining the final election result.”

Polling stations will remain open until 6 p.m. local time as voters elect a new government with Chancellor Angela Merkel retiring after four terms. Total voter turnout in 2017 was 76.2%. 

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