Clear lead over Merz: CDU elects Laschet as new chairman

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Clear lead over Merz
CDU elects Laschet as the new chairman

521 delegates voted for Laschet, Merz got 466 votes. Four delegates abstained, a total of 991 votes were cast.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet will succeed Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as CDU leader. The 59-year-old prevailed at the digital CDU party congress in a runoff election against ex-Union parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz.

Laschet received 521 votes, Merz 466 votes. 991 votes were cast, four delegates abstained. In the first ballot, Merz had 385 votes, Laschet 380 votes. 224 votes went to Norbert Röttgen, who ended up in third place and was therefore out of the race.

In a first short address, Laschet thanked "for the great trust" – the word "trust" was a key term in his application speech. "I am aware of the responsibility that comes with this position and I want to do everything that we can go through this year together."

Formally, the digital party congress of the CDU does not end this afternoon, but pauses until Friday. Then the result of the postal vote is announced, which is necessary so that the election result is legally unassailable. However, there will only be one name on the postal ballot papers: von Laschet, next to it "Yes", "No" and "Abstention".

Laschet asked the 1001 delegates to also vote for him in postal votes. "I also ask for the support of those who voted for the other candidates, so that we can really go into the federal elections as one." Laschet thanked his predecessor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer for her work over the past few years. He particularly emphasized the reconciliation with the CSU that they had achieved together with Markus Söder.

Laschet also thanked Merz and Röttgen. Ten months of competition "carries the risk of increasing irritability". However, the internal party election campaign was "very, very fair". Röttgen made a strong election campaign "out of nowhere". He thanked Merz for "what we have done in the past and will do together in the future"; Merz worked as a Brexit officer for the North Rhine-Westphalian state government. And finally, Laschet thanked General Secretary Paul Ziemiak, who had organized the party convention "grandiose". Laschet pointed out that all three candidates – he was the first one – had agreed that Ziemiak would remain secretary general.

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