Berlin (dpa) – Friedrich Merz, a long-time political rival of Angela Merkel, is the most popular name in the race to be the next chancellor candidate for Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a poll has found.
The survey, conducted by the pollster YouGov on behalf of dpa, found that 18 per cent of respondents would like to see Merz, a former parliamentary group leader, leading the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), into the election campaign.
CSU head Markus Soeder came in second place with 12 per cent.
He was followed by Norbert Roettgen – a former minister who now chairs the parliament’s foreign affairs committee – with 11 per cent, North Rhine Westphalia state premier Armin Laschet with 9 per cent and Health Minister Jens Spahn with 7 per cent.
Forty-three per cent of respondents declined to endorse any of the five men.
So far, only Roettgen has formally announced that he will be seeking to be the CDU’s candidate for chancellor, after CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said last month that she would resign.
The CDU’s leadership is due on Monday to discuss the next steps in replacing Kramp-Karrenbauer following her shock announcement.
Party sources told dpa that the CDU will probably be choosing its new leader at a special party conference on April 25 or May 9 in Berlin.
Monday’s talks will also focus on the conservative party’s poor showing in the Hamburg regional election at the weekend. The party suffered its worst regional parliamentary result in almost 70 years, getting only 11.2 per cent of the vote.