Berlin: Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) elected Armin Laschet as chairman on Saturday, aiming to unify their divided party behind a new leader they hope can succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor when she steps down at federal elections in September.
Laschet, the governor of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia – Germany’s most populous – won a runoff vote against Friedrich Merz, securing 521 votes against 466 for his arch-conservative rival, according to a ballot of 1001 party delegates. A third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting.
Saturday’s vote isn’t the final word on who will run as the centre-right candidate for chancellor in Germany’s September 26 election, but Laschet will either run for chancellor or have a major say in who does.
By tradition, the CDU chairman is usually – though not always – the chancellor candidate for the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the conservative bloc is on course to win September’s federal ballot.
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