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’s 466. A third candidate, prominent legislator Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in the first round of the vote.
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 secure the party’s unity.
In 2017 Laschet, 59, was elected 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 fairly smoothly with a more liberal partner. Current polls indicate that the Green Environmental Party is a potential key to power in elections.
On Saturday, Lachette cited the value of continuity and moderation, citing supporters of President Donald Trump’s storming of the U.S. Capitol as an example of where intentional polarization could lead.
He told delegates before the vote: “Trust is what keeps us going and what has been broken in America.” “By polarizing, sowing discord, distrust, and systematic lying, the president has destroyed stability and confidence.”
“We must speak clearly, but not polarize,” Lachette said. “We must be able to integrate and unify society.”
He said that the party needs “continued success” and “we will not win unless we remain strong in the midst of society.”
Laschet said, “There are a lot of people who, above all, find Angela Merkel good and only then the CDU.” He added 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 elected as one of his deputies, a possible candidate.
Polls showed Soeder’s rankings outperformed those earned by CDU candidates on Saturday. Lachette has garnered mixed opinions on the pandemic, particularly as an outspoken advocate for easing restrictions after the first phase last year.
Not much should expect honeymooners as the leader of CDU. This year is also marked by the six-state elections, the first of which is in mid-March.
Merkel, now 66, has led Germany and Europe through a series of crises since taking office. It has also repeatedly severed conservatism, for example by speeding up Germany’s exit from nuclear energy and ending military conscription.
Its decision in 2015 to allow large numbers of immigrants led to divisions on the center-right and strengthened the far-right Alternative for Germany party, which entered the German parliament two years later.
The leader of the AfD, Joerg Meuthen, said that the election of Laschet means that the CDU “will continue Merkling’s efforts” and affirmed that his party “remains the only conservative party in Germany.”