While all eyes are on Washington, the most important transition of power could be playing out halfway across the world.

On the surface it might not be the world’s most dynamic leadership race. But one of the three middle-aged men in the running to replace German Chancellor Angela Merkel stands to wield more power over the future of a troubled Europe than almost anyone else.

They have each waited a long time to find out who will take up the reins of their party, the Christian Democratic Union. First scheduled for April, after the surprise resignation of Merkel’s heir-apparent Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the election was put off time and again due to the Covid-19 pandemic.