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New CDU leader Laschet - in contested pole position for Chancellorship

January 18, 2021
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Winning 53% of delegates’ votes, Armin Laschet - the PM of NRW and Merkel loyalist - secured a slim majority in the run-off for the CDU party leadership on Saturday. This does not come as a surprise, as Laschet was widely seen as the candidate with a small lead in a tight race. In the end, having most governing experience and a track record of winning elections probably tipped the scale in favour of Laschet (e.g. the former SPD stronghold NWR in 2017). Being well-connected within the CDU also paid off for him. However, with a mere difference of 55 votes this is no landslide victory, though still a clearer win for the Merkel camp than AKK’s 17-vote win over Merz in 2018. The slim majority is a reflection of the existing divisions within the party, leaving Laschet with the task of bridging those as soon as possible in this decisive super-election year. Norbert Röttgen (coming third in the election) quickly signalled support for Armin Laschet and was elected to the CDU’s steering committee. [more]

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