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Merkel’s party picks her ally as next leader

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel. AFP

BERLIN, (AFP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party picked her ally Armin Laschet as its next leader on Saturday, in a vote for “continuity” as Europe’s biggest economy heads into a key election year with the deadly coronavirus pandemic still raging.

In the close race, Laschet, the state premier of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, triumphed over old Merkel nemesis Friedrich Merz, after a first round that saw Merz leading by just five votes. But delegates at the congress pushed online because of the pandemic, were not swayed by the 65-year-old corporate lawyer (Merz).


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