On Tuesday, the conservative movement in Germany confirmed the candidacy of Armin Laschet for the chancellery in the September elections, while his opponent conceded defeat after a difficult battle that raised deep divisions within the ranks of the bloc.
Hours after the 60-year-old Laschet won the support of the Christian Democratic Union, Bavaria’s Premier Marcus Söder finally backed out after a week of holding on to the candidacy.
“It’s settled. Armin Laschet is the chancellor’s candidate,” for the CDU and the conservative Christian Social Union, Zoder said.
He stated, “There are days devoted to discussions. There are days dedicated to the decision. All this has been done, and it is now important to look together to the future,” wishing Alashet success and affirming his party’s support for him.
The retreat comes after a nine-day struggle among parliamentarians and prominent personalities and within the conservative bloc that nearly pushed the alliance to the brink of implosion, at a time when Merkel is preparing to leave the world of politics after 16 years in power.
While Lacshet, a long-time ally of Merkel, has won the support of the Christian Democratic Union leaders, Zöder has much more support in the public.
A poll by Bild newspaper on Germany’s most popular politicians revealed that Söder is at the top, slightly overtaking Merkel and Laschet at 12th.
Laschet remained loyal and supported Merkel while she faced criticism over the 2015 migration crisis.
Despite the restlessness in the mood during that period, against the background of the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers, Laschet won in North Rhine-Westphalia, a vast industrial region that is a stronghold of the Social Democrats, in regional elections in 2017, which gave an important boost to the Christian Democratic Union.