Berlin (AFP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party on Saturday chose Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany’s most populous state, as its new leader – sending a signal of continuity months before the election in which voters will decide who will become the new. Advisor.
Laschet defeated Frederick Mears, a conservative and one-time opponent of Merkel, at a CDU online conference. Laschet won 521 votes to Mers’ 466. A third candidate, prominent MP Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in the first round of voting.
Saturday’s vote is not the last word on who will run as the center-right candidate for chancellor in the September 26 elections in Germany, but Laschet will either run for chancellor or have a big say in who will run.
Merkel, who has held the chancellor since 2005, announced in late 2018 that she would not run for a fifth term. She also stepped down from the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union.
The decision ends an 11-month leadership uncertainty in Germany’s most powerful party after outgoing leader Annegret Kramp Karenbauer, who had failed to impose her authority on the party, announced her resignation. The vote on her successor has been postponed twice due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
There was no clear favorite at Saturday’s convention, but the election of Merz would have at least a symbolic break with the Merkel era. Lachette will now have to work to consolidate party unity – something Kramp Karenbauer has suffered from.
Laschet, 59, was elected in 2017 as governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, a traditional center-left stronghold. It rules the region in alliance with the pro-business Liberal Democrats, the CDU’s traditional ally on the right, but will likely be able to work smoothly with a more liberal partner as well.
Saturday Lachit indicated the value of continuity and moderation.
He told delegates, „We must speak clearly, but not polarize.” „We must be able to integrate and unify society.”
He said, „We will not win unless we remain strong in the midst of society.”
„There are a lot of people who find Angela Merkel good and only then the CDU,” Lachette said, adding that „we need this trust now as a party” and that „we must work for this trust.”
Saturday’s result will now be formally validated in the postal ballot – which is expected to be a formality but is required by German law.
The CDU is part of the Union Bloc together with the Christian Social Union of Bavaria only, and the two parties together will decide the center-right candidate for the position of chancellor. The union is currently ranked in healthy progress in the poll, helped by positive reviews of Merkel’s handling of the pandemic.
Marcus Suidder, leader of the Christian Social Union, Governor of Bavaria, is widely considered a potential candidate after gaining political standing during the pandemic. Some also consider Health Minister Jens Spahn, who supported Lachit and was running to be his deputy, a potential contender.
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