German elections: Will Merkel win 4th term as chancellor?

A total of 42 parties are taking part in the elections, as well as a number of independent candidates. However, only a few parties are believed to have realistic chances to reach the minimum 5 percent threshold to secure at least one seat. These are the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led by incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel; its right-wing Bavarian alliance partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), with its top candidate Joachim Hermann; the CDU’s main rival, the centrist Social Democratic Party (SPD), with Martin Schulz as its chair; the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), co-chaired by Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel; the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) led by Christian Lindner; the pro-ecology Alliance 90/The Greens, steered into the elections by Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir; and The Left Party (Die Linke) with top candidates Dietmar Bartsch und Sahra Wagenknecht.