The German government on Wednesday, November 24 announced that the election to pick Chancellor Angela Merkel’s replacement would be held on September 26, 2021. A government spokesperson confirmed that the election for the 20th Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, would be held next year. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is yet to officially approve the election date and it remains to be seen, who would be picked by Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to lead them into the polls.
Who will replace Merkel?
Merkel, who governed Germany for 16 years, has confirmed that she would not seek a fifth term and would retire from her celebrated political life next year. Merkel assumed the role of Chancellor in 2005 and she is the first woman in Germany to take that position. Merkel’s party, however, is yet to decide on who would replace the charismatic leader for the next year’s election. Usually, the leader of the party is one who leads it, and its smaller coalition partner the Christian Social Union (CSU) to the polls, but that again is yet to be decided.
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the current leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but she resigned from her position in February 2020 and is waiting for her successor to be elected before she could officially step down. According to local media reports, currently, there are three prospects, who are being considered as frontrunners in the race to become the leader of the CDU. The candidates that are looking to fill Merkel’s shoes are North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Armin Laschet, corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz, and foreign affairs expert Norbert Rottgen.
So far, the election for choosing the leader of the CDU has already been delayed two times due to COVID-19 concerns. However, the party has scheduled the election for the new CDU chief in January next year, which would be held virtually if an in-person meeting is impossible to organise. Some reports have also stated that CSU leader Markus Soeder could also be the face to replace Merkel for next year’s election.
Markus Soeder, who is the current premier of Bavarian, leads opinion polls against all three CDU hopefuls to become the next Chancellor of Germany. His popularity surged after he successfully handled the COVID-19 outbreak in his state, which was one of the worst-hit regions in Germany.
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