By FRANK JORDANS and GEIR MOULSON
BERLIN (AP) — The center-left Social Democrats have won the biggest share of the vote in Germany’s national election. They narrowly beat outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc in a closely fought race that will determine who succeeds the long-time leader at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy. The Social Democrats’ candidate Olaf Scholz, the outgoing vice chancellor and finance minister who pulled his party out of a long slump, said the outcome was a clear mandate to ensure they assembled a good, pragmatic government. The Union bloc said it too would reach out to smaller parties to discuss forming a government, while Merkel stays as caretaker until a successor is chosen.