What you need to know about Germany’s election

Election posters in Berlin on Sept. 16 show candidates to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor, from left: Armin Laschet of the Christian Democratic Union, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens and Christian Lindner of the Free Democratic Party. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Election posters in Berlin on Sept. 16 show candidates to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor, from left: Armin Laschet of the Christian Democratic Union, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens and Christian Lindner of the Free Democratic Party. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Germany’s parliamentary elections on Sept. 26 will signal the end of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16 years in power. Little else is certain.

It is the most open race in decades. The lead position in the polls has shifted between three main parties: Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union, the Greens and the center-left Social Democratic Party.

The outcome of the vote will shape the future of Europe’s largest economy and the wider European Union and its dealings with allies such as the United States and rivals including Russia and China.

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