The German Christian Democratic Party CDU has elected Armin Laschet as the new party leader. That happened at the party conference that was held digitally today.
The party is now looking for a new Merkel, which has been at the helm for nearly 16 years and, after the elections to the Federal Chancellery, completely stops politics. Laschet, who is now Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, may become the new Chancellor, but it is not yet known whether he is running for this.
59-year-old Laschet took on former CDU group chairman and hardliner Friedrich Merz (65) and the eloquent CDU foreign specialist Norbert Röttgen (55). All three men from the state with the most inhabitants: North Rhine-Westphalia.
After the first round, the votes for Merz (385) and Laschet (360) were close together. Röttgen remained stuck at 224 votes. It took a second ballot to reach the final winner. Laschet got 521 votes, Merz 466.
“ With Armin Laschet, Germany‘s largest party will once again have a bridge builder as leader. Someone who wants to connect the conservative and progressive factions within the CDU,” says correspondent Wouter Zwart.
“ But Laschet emphasises that there will not automatically be a weiter so with Angela Merkel’s politics. The majority of the Germans have confidence in the outgoing Chancellor is not automatically a mandate for the party. The CDU will have to fight for this in the run-up to the Federal Day elections on 26 September.”
Because it has not yet been said that Laschet will automatically become the new Chancellor. It is only in the spring that the Union (the CDU together with the Bavarian sister-party CSU) will decide with whom they will enter the elections. That may be the new President, but there is a good chance that one or even two surprising candidates will come forward before that time.
“ I am aware of the responsibility and will do everything in my power to ensure that the Union delivers the new Chancellor after the Federal Day elections,” Laschet responded.
The favourite for that top position is not even on the list this weekend: Markus Söder, Prime Minister of Bavaria and leader of the Bavarian sister party CSU. Söder is seen as a strong leader. He is praised for the way in which he tackles the coronacrisis in Bavaria. “Although Söder has not yet expressed his ambitions, analysts assume that he too is interested in the Federal Chancellery on behalf of CDU/CSU,” says Zwart.