Leading officials for the German conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party voted to nominate Armin Laschet as chancellor candidate for this year’s election in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A majority of 77.5% of the party board — 31 members — voted in favor of the party leader. His rival for the position, Markus Söder, received just 9 votes.
The vote is not an official decision on the candidate for the conservative bloc which also includes Söder’s Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU). However, Söder had said he would respect the decision of the CDU party board.
“It’s about the best answers to the pressing questions of the future. And I am ready to run for office on our behalf,” Laschet said after the board voted.
The vote was conducted after a six-hour-long online meeting. Laschet and Söder, the state premiers for the most populous German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria respectively, have been facing off to become the chancellor candidate for the two sister parties.
Laschet, 60, was elected leader of the CDU earlier in the year. By convention, the party leader stands as the chancellor candidate for the party.
But Söder expressed his willingness to run as the candidate after a surge in popularity according to polls.
Laschet has been seen as current Chancellor Angela Merkel’s favorite and her spiritual successor. But a recent decline in popularity for the conservative bloc is risking an end to the 16 years that they have been in power under Merkel.
The bloc is polling only a few percentage points above the Green party who announced their chancellor candidate, Annalena Baerbock, on Monday.
More to come …
ab/nm (Reuters, dpa)