Armin Laschet takes first step towards becoming Merkel's successor

German state premier Armin Laschet took the first step towards becoming Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor after he was elected party leader of the conservative Christian Democrats. The 59-year-old Laschet saw off a challenge from wealthy corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz in a run-off vote at the CDU’s first-ever digital party convention. Laschet is the premier of North Rhine Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany. He has said he is committed to continuing Merkel’s centrist policies and was seen as the party establishment’s candidate. He won 521 of the votes by 991 delegates. Merz was …

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