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20.04.2021 14:12 News >> Germany: CDU Picks Laschet As Candidate To Succeed Merkel As Chancellor

Germany: CDU Picks Laschet As Candidate To Succeed Merkel As Chancellor

Armin Laschet's rival Markus Soeder vows 'to accept and respect' party's decision and support CDU/CSU's joint candidate.

Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has chosen party Chairman Armin Laschet as its candidate to succeed Merkel as German chancellor this September, media reports said Tuesday.
Following six hours of heated deliberations late Monday evening, Laschet got 31 votes from the CDU's executive board versus nine for his rival Markus Soeder, head of the CDU's Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU).
The vote for Laschet is expected to further divide the CDU in its bid to win the Sept. 26 general elections, as Bavarian Premier Soeder enjoys great popularity among the CDU electorate, according to Berlin-based political pundits.
Elected CDU leader in January, the 60-year-old Laschet has widely been regarded as Merkel's favorite to be her successor.
Reacting to the leadership vote, Soeder vowed "to accept and respect" the decision and to support Laschet in his bid for the chancellery.
"I wish Armin Laschet much success for the difficult task that is ahead of him," said Soeder, 54.
Speaking at a press conference in Munich, Soeder said: "I have called Armin Laschet and congratulated him and I have told him that we as the CSU accept it (the decision)."
Laschet: Moderate, liberal follower of Merkel, with ties to Turkish community
While Soeder's handling of the coronavirus crisis in Bavaria has given him a popularity boost, some within the CDU raised doubts about his leadership skills and criticized him for his hardline policies.
Ahead of the general elections, the Christian Democratic bloc remains the strongest political force, with polling hovering around 29%, but it would need a coalition partner to form Germany's next government.
Laschet, a seasoned political veteran, since 2017 has been the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.
He is known for his moderate and liberal views, and is considered a follower of Merkel's pragmatic, centrist line.
The CDU head was a federal lawmaker in 1994-1998, and served as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1999 until 2005.
Laschet is also known for his good ties with the Turkish community and other migrant groups in the country, as he served as North Rhine-Westphalia's integration minister from 2005 to 2010. -



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