Two state governors vying to be centre-right candidate in German election

Armin Laschet and Markus Soeder both want to succeed Angela Merkel who is not seeking a fifth term.

The chairman of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Armin Laschet, left, and the chairman of the German Christian Social Union (CSU), Markus Soeder, right, arrive for a statement following a closed meeting (Michael Kappeler/AP)
The chairman of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Armin Laschet, left, and the chairman of the German Christian Social Union (CSU), Markus Soeder, right, arrive for a statement following a closed meeting (Michael Kappeler/AP)

Two German state governors declared their willingness to become the centre-right candidate for the country’s September 26 national election.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not seeking a fifth term after 16 years in power.

Her centre-right Union bloc has yet to choose its candidate between two state governors, Armin Laschet and Markus Soeder.

“Markus Soeder and I had a long talk,” Mr Laschet told reporters after a meeting of the leaders of the parliamentary party factions of the Union bloc.

“We both have declared our willingness to run for the candidacy for the chancellery.”

Angela Merkel is not seeking another term (Hannibal Hanschke/AP)
Angela Merkel is not seeking another term (Hannibal Hanschke/AP)

Mr Laschet, who is the governor of Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, won the leadership of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, in January.

He hopes to succeed Mrs Merkel as chancellor as does Mr Soeder, who is Bavaria’s governor and the head of the CDU’s Bavaria-only sister party CSU.

The centre-right Union bloc, which is made up by the two parties but dominated by the CDU, has not yet decided on its candidate for the parliamentary election.

However, a decision is expected in the coming days.

Armin Laschet, left, and Markus Soeder (Michael Kappeler/AP)
Armin Laschet, left, and Markus Soeder (Michael Kappeler/AP)

“There’s a big expectation to come to a solution together, rather sooner than later, regarding the question of the candidacy for chancellery,” Mr Soeder said.

“We determined that both of us are capable and both are ready, which is important, and that we both grant respect for each other.”

“It is our goal, in this situation in which the country finds itself, with a chancellor, who is leaving office, to create as much unity as possible between the CDU and the CSU,” Mr Laschet said.

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