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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party chooses pragmatic governor Armin Laschet as its new leader

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party has elected Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany’s most populous state, as its new leader – sending a signal of continuity months before an election in which voters will decide who becomes the new chancellor.

Governor of North Rhine-Westphalia and candidate for the party chairmanship, Armin Laschet, speaks at the CDU’s digital national party conference. (Photo: AP)

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party has elected Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany’s most populous state, as its new leader – sending a signal of continuity months before an election in which voters will decide who becomes the new chancellor.

Laschet defeated Friedrich Merz, a conservative and one-time Merkel rival, at an online convention Saturday of the Christian Democratic Union. Laschet won 521 votes to Merz’s 466; a third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting.

Saturday’s vote isn’t the final word on who will run as the center-right candidate for chancellor in Germany’s Sept. 26 election, but Laschet will either run for chancellor or will have a big say in who does.

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