The candidate for the presidency of the German Christian Democratic Union, Armin Laschet, indicates that he is participating in a debate at the party’s headquarters in Berlin on January 8, 2021.
Christian Mang / Ball / AFP) (Photo by Christian Mang / Ball / AFP via Getty Images
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party chose Armin Laschet as its new president on Saturday, which could pave the way for him to replace Angela Merkel as an election advisor later this year.
Lachit is the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the most populous federal state in the country. He defeated conservative rival Frederick Mears by 521 to 466 in a vote forced online by the coronavirus pandemic.
Born in 1961, he was first elected to the Bundestag (German parliament) in 1994, and his election is seen as a continuation of Merkel’s policies, as he pledged to keep the CDU in “the midst of society”.
With it as president, the CDU will likely remain on the message and focus on more climate change policy and environmental issues. He has a strong Catholic background that brings him support from Christian circles within the party.
He is a trained lawyer and also worked as a journalist at the time of the German reunification between 1986 and 1991. He is seen as very liberal and popular with the immigrant community in his state.
If he becomes the CDU candidate for chancellor in the September elections, he may be open to different alliances – power-sharing somewhat of a recent tradition in German politics.
He brought up the idea of government alongside the liberals, the FDP, in an attempt to win parts of the business camp within the CDU. But he’s also seen as a natural fit to ally with the Greens as well, because he speaks well with the party and prefers environmental issues.
But the CDU candidate for chancellor will not be decided until spring. It is not certain that the newly elected president will automatically move into the role of Merkel. Markus Söder, the very famous Bavarian Prime Minister, as well as Jens Spahn, the current Minister of Health, may join the race to lead the largest economy in Europe.
Merkel resigned as leader of the CDU in 2018, and her replacement, Angret Kramp-Karenbauer, resigned in February 2020 after a series of contact incidents which she revealed was too weak to lead the chancellery.
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