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Armin Laschet to become Merkel’s successor

North Rhine-Westphalia premier Armin Laschet has been elected party leader of Germany's conservative Christian Democrats, defeating wealthy corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz in a run-off.

Berlin, 16 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) — North Rhine-Westphalia premier Armin Laschet has been elected party leader of Germany’s conservative Christian Democrats, defeating wealthy corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz in a run-off.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor won the vote against Merz at the CDU’s first-ever digital party convention.

Laschet is the premier of North Rhine -Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany.

He has said he is committed to continuing Merkel’s centrist policies and was seen as the party establishment’s candidate.

He won 521 of the votes by 991 delegates. Merz was backed by 466 delegates. Four delegates abstained.

The vote comes at the start of a crucial year in German politics, with national elections set for September.

Merkel plans to retire at the end of her current fourth term.

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