Armin Laschet, the Christian Democratic Union’s candidate for the German chancellorship in September’s elections, will not return to his political base in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, irrespective of the outcome.

“It is clear to me that my place after the federal elections is in Berlin,” Laschet, who heads the CDU and is bidding to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday.

“I aim to be chancellor,” he said, pledging to do his utmost for the centre-right alliance of the CDU and its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), to win.

The state-level constitution does not allow him to keep his post as premier while sitting in the federal parliament, the Bundestag, or being a member of the federal government.

Laschet has yet to decide whether to campaign for a personal Bundestag seat in the city of Aachen, where he is registered with the CDU. The other option is for him to enter the Bundestag on the CDU list.

In the interview, Laschet also left open the question of whether he would lead the opposition, should the CDU not form part of the government.

“Who becomes what and when is decided by the parties and caucuses following the vote by the electorate,” he said.

Recent opinion polls have put the Greens marginally in the lead, ahead of the CDU/CSU alliance, with the Social Democrats (SPD), currently the junior party in Merkel’s broad coalition, trailing well behind in third place.

Pre-election calculations suggest the possibility of a coalition between the Greens and the CDU/CSU or a three-way government of the Greens, the SPD and the free-market FDP.

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