By Vatican News staff reporter
Germany goes to the polls on Sunday, and for the first time in sixteen years the name of the current Chancellor, Angela Merkel will not be on the ballot paper.
As the hours tick by ahead of this national election, political parties were doing their best on Friday to sway undecided voters.
The leader of Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrat party, Armin Laschet, has made some headway but he still lags behind the centre-left Social Democrats, headed by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
In third place is the Green party whose candidate, Annalena Baerbock, is the only woman in this election aiming to succeed Angela Merkel.
Face to the finish
All in all, this is a tight race, and according to experts the reason for this is that candidates are relatively unknown to most voters.
This weekend, all three parties are racing to the finish line with large gatherings. The Christian Democrats or CDU party will have its last big rally in Munich, while the Social Democrats are staging an event in the western city of Cologne. Meanwhile, the Greens will hold their rally in Duesseldorf.
So what are the key issues in this election? Certainly, the economy and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have played an important role during this campaign.
Climate change is also a concern for voters, especially among the younger generation, while the issue of migration has been largely absent.
Foreign policy came to the fore during the final television debate on Thursday, with the Greens calling for a tougher stance on China.
Voting and pandemic
Election officials say many people will vote by mail this year, due to the pandemic, but this is not expected to significantly affect the turnout.
About 60.4 million Germans are eligible to vote for a new parliament on September 26.