Germany will go to the polls to elect a new parliament and chancellor on September 26 next year as Angela Merkel's looming retirement leaves the country's political future wide open.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier approved the date, a statement from his office said. It had been proposed by the government following talks with political parties and the country's 16 state administrations.
So far, only one party has picked a candidate to lead it into the vote: the Social Democrats (CDU) with Olaf Scholz, who currently serves as Chancellor Merkel's deputy in a coalition with her conservatives.
However, the SPD has been hemorrhaging support for years while Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) are the strongest-polling party at this early stage, together with their CSU Bavarian allies.
The Greens, currently the smallest opposition force in the Bundestag parliament, are hoping for a surge in 2021 following a string of electoral gains at the EU and local level.
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