The Minister President (or Prime Minister) of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, has won the election to the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in the first step to decide the candidate who will try to succeed the president at the head of the Chancellery in this year’s national elections.
Laschet, 59, at the head of the most populous state in the country and considered a continuity option, defeated Merkel’s critic, the powerful business lawyer Friedrich Merz, in a second round, after the defeat in the first round of the vote of the third in contention, the foreign policy expert and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag Norbert Roettgen.
However, nothing has been decided regarding the candidacy for the German Chancellery. Laschet is likely to face Bavarian prime minister and leader of the CDU’s sister formation, the Christian Social Union (CSU) Markus Soeder, who is currently considered the big favorite for the nomination, in March.
“I am aware of the responsibility that this work entails and I will do everything possible to do it well in the next regional elections and to ensure, in the face of the national elections, that the next chancellor will come from this party,” Laschet declared in his first comments after his victory.