Armin Laschet elected leader of Merkel’s CDU party

Centrist Armin Laschet has been elected leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the BBC reports.

Mr Laschet, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia state, defeated two rivals in the party’s virtual conference.

He is now in a good position in the race to succeed Mrs Merkel when she steps down as German chancellor in September, after 16 years in office.

But he faces a changed political landscape following the Covid pandemic.

Mr Laschet, 59, defeated conservative businessman Friedrich Merz in a run-off vote by 521 votes to 466. A third candidate, Norbert Röttgen, was eliminated in the previous round.

He replaces as chair of the party Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who failed to live up to her billing as Mrs Merkel’s appointed successor after taking office more than two years ago.

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