europe

Germany's CDU in vote to choose successor to Angela Merkel


The party of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has chosen Armin Laschet as its new leader.

Laschet defeated Friedrich Merz, a conservative and one-time Merkel rival, at an online convention on Saturday of the Christian Democratic Union.

Laschet won 521 votes to Merz’s 466; a third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Röttgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting.

Saturday’s vote is not the final word on who will run as the center-right candidate for chancellor in Germany’s 26 September election, but Laschet will either run for chancellor or will have a big say in who does.

Laschet, 59, is the governor of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia – traditionally a center-left stronghold – where he won election in 2017.

Saturday’s decision will end an 11-month leadership limbo in the CDU after Kramp-Karrenbauer, who had failed to impose her authority on the party, announced her resignation. A vote on her successor was delayed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDU is part of the Union bloc along with the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, and the two parties will decide together on the center-right candidate. The Union has a healthy poll lead, helped by positive reviews of Merkel’s handling of the pandemic.

Merkel, who has been chancellor since 2005, announced in 2018 that she would not seek a fifth term. She also stepped down from the CDU leadership.



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