CDU party board backs Laschet to run as German conservative chancellor candidate

WION Web Team
Berlin Published: Apr 20, 2021, 02:33 PM(IST)

Armin Laschet, the head of Merkel's CDU party Photograph:( Reuters )

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Laschet and Markus Söder, who leads the CDU’s Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), have been at loggerheads over who is better placed to lead the conservative alliance into the federal election.

Armin Laschet, the leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU), won the backing of senior party members at an internal meeting on Monday night (19 April) to run as the conservative chancellor candidate to succeed Angela Merkel at the September election.

Laschet and Markus Söder, who leads the CDU’s Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), have been at loggerheads over who is better placed to lead the conservative alliance into the federal election.

With Merkel stepping down after the election, pressure has been mounting on the bloc, dubbed 'The Union', to agree on a candidate as its ratings wallow near a one-year low, hurt by the chaotic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By backing Laschet, 60, the less popular of the two men, the CDU elite has prioritised its ascendancy in the conservative bloc over the prospect of being led to victory by Soeder, 54, who would then hold sway over the alliance and could potentially dominate it for years. read more

After more than six hours of debate going into the night, Laschet garnered the votes of 31 out of 46 members of the CDU's federal executive committee, representing a majority of 77.5%, party sources said.

Soeder, who did not participate in the virtual CDU meeting, won the backing of nine members while six others abstained, according to the participants.

The leader of the CSU party had said on Monday that he would accept a "clear decision" by the CDU leadership and step aside. He had not yet commented on the outcome of the meeting early on Tuesday.

The bloc is likely to make a joint decision on a candidate later on Tuesday, Thorsten Frei, deputy leader of the CDU/CSU group in parliament, told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

(With inputs from agencies)

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