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Germany’s CDU ready to elect new leader

Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is searching for a new party leader as three candidates have lined up to succeed Armin Laschet.

Former chairman of the conservative union’s (CDU/CSU) parliamentary group Friedrich Merz, who already lost against Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in 2018 and against Laschet at the beginning of the year, is running for CDU leadership for the third time, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There will be no shift to the right in the Union with me here. There will be no shifting of axes in the Union. There is to be a clear profile with me,” said Merz.

Foreign policy expert Norbert Roettgen and acting head of the Chancellor’s Office Helge Braun also announced their candidacy to succeed Laschet.

As Federal Minister for the Environment from 2009 to 2012, Roettgen built up an image as a forerunner for the nuclear phase-out and for ambitious climate protection.

The third candidate Helge Braun has been one of Angela Merkel’s most important confidants during recent years and the Covid-19 pandemic in particular.

Braun also coordinated the management of the refugee and migration crisis after 2015.

As a consequence of poor election results which saw the CDU come in second behind the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, Laschet announced to reorganise the party at the beginning of October.

“We will quickly tackle the reorganisation of the CDU in terms of personnel — from the chairperson to the presidium to the federal executive committee,” Laschet has said in October.

The new CDU chairperson is planned to be elected at a party conference on January 21, 2022, following a member survey scheduled for December.

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