Who's who - German political parties

Ahead of Germany's general election on September 24, German pollsters agree: After three terms in office, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat CDU and its "sister party", the Bavarian CSU, look set for another four years in government in Berlin. But they will need another coalition partner.

The FDP was a kingmaker in German politics for many years until they failed to make it into the Bundestag in 2013. But their new charismatic young leader Christian Lindner may bring Germany's Liberals back to power.

The AfD is the newest force in German politics, with a euroskeptic and right-wing anti-refugee platform. Their former leader Frauke Petry has been sidelined in a power struggle with party heads Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland.

Martin Schulz heads the SPD, Germany's oldest party, which has lost support since entering the grand coaltion with Angela Merkel's CDU.

If the SPD had teamed up with the Left Party and the Greens after the last election, they would have been able to form a government in Berlin.

Is there any chance that this combination would work now?

DW explains how coalition building works? How is the chancellor elected? What will the election outcome mean for Gernany's future, for its relations to Europe and the rest of the world?

Which issues will be decisive among voters this fall? Navigate your way through election buzzwords with our series.

German issues in a nutshell

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