Two other lawmakers abstained, the MPs said, suggesting Merkel still faces a rebellion from within her own center-right coalition when the motion is put to the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
Tuesday's test votes show some 16 coalition lawmakers may vote against or abstain from voting on the bill which indicates Merkel will not have to rely on opposition parties to get the bill passed.
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There is virtually no question the motion will get through the Bundestag because the main opposition parties have agreed the text of the draft.
(Reporting By Andreas Rinke and Holger Hansen)