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German conservatives Laschet and Soeder both in race to succeed Merkel

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The contest to succeed Angela Merkel as the centre-right candidate for Chancellor in this September’s Bundestag election has been opened after the leaders of both Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Christian Democrats (CDU) said on Sunday they were ready to run for the post.

Speaking after attending a meeting of the executive committee of the CDU/CSU coalition parliamentary group in Berlin, CSU leader Markus Söder confirmed he would be rival to the CDU chief Armin Laschet.

“We have found out that both are suitable and both are willing,” said Söder. “What is important is that we also give each other respect. And I can say this from the beginning: no matter what the decision will be in the end, we will both personally work together very well.”

“We have both declared our willingness to run for chancellor,” Laschet said. “The readiness of two is on the table, the tasks are also on the table. And now we will begin consultations, first in the CDU tomorrow and then in the CSU.”

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Laschet had already spoken out in favour of reaching a decision quickly before Söder’s announcement. The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia has recently faced criticism of his proposals on dealing with the pandemic.

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Laschet and Söder agreed that the person with the better chances in the Bundestag elections should enter the race as candidate for chancellor.

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