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.

What to know

  • Who are the candidates?
  • When will Merkel leave?
  • What other parties are in the mix?
  • How does the election work?