Germany's largest and dominant political party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is holding a crucial vote to elect a new leader this coming weekend after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would not run for the post and effectively started to wind down her political career.
There are two main contenders for the party leadership but this vote, taking place at the party's Annual Congress in Hamburg on December 7-8, has larger significance in that the winner could become Germany's next chancellor.
Merkel said in October that she would not be running for re-election of chairwoman of the ruling conservative CDU back in October. She also confirmed that this, her fourth term, would be her last and she would not be seeking any political post after 2021.
Her announcement opened a leadership race for both the CDU and the ultimate prize (and responsibility) — leading Europe's largest economy and most influential political entity.