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Merkel party chief swings ahead in race to be chancellor

CDU members have expressed "clear support" for Laschet

12 April, 15:13
(ANSA-afp) - BERLIN, APR 12 - The head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU secured the backing of the party's top brass on Monday in a key boost for his campaign to succeed the veteran leader at elections in September. As head of the CDU, Armin Laschet would normally be a shoo-in to lead the party and the CSU, its smaller Bavarian sister party, to the polls on September 26 -- when Merkel will retire after 16 years as chancellor. But with public support for the conservatives tumbling over their recent handling of the coronavirus pandemic, some have called for Laschet to step aside in favour of Markus Soeder, the more popular CSU leader. However, after a key huddle of party heavyweights on Monday, Volker Bouffier, the state premier of Hesse, said the senior CDU members have expressed "clear support" for Laschet. "We consider him to be exceptionally suitable and have asked him to discuss the way forward with Markus Soeder," Bouffier told reporters in Berlin, adding that the parties would aim to make a final decision "within a week". (ANSA-afp).

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