Merkel's CDU meets ahead of election-year leadership vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Friday launched a digital party conference the day before a key vote that could represent a first step towards selecting her successor. Speeches are expected by Chancellor Angela Merkel, exiting Christian Democrat (CDU) party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Markus Soeder, head of the CDU’s allied Christian Social Union (CSU) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The race for the leadership of the CDU appears wide open. There are three candidates on the all-male ballot: Armin Laschet, who is premier of Germany’s most populo…

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