Merkel bloc chooses Laschet as candidate

·1-min read

Armin Laschet has won his rival's backing to lead Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right bloc into the German election in September, after a bruising power struggle.

Markus Soeder said on Tuesday that he will back Laschet, the head of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, after the latter's party leadership gave him majority support.

Soeder said that "the die is cast: Armin Laschet will be the chancellor candidate of the Union."

Soeder, the leader of the CDU's smaller Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, had faced off against Laschet for over a week in a standoff that laid bare deep divisions in Merkel's party. Soeder, whose personal poll ratings are much better than Laschet's, had significant support in the CDU.

The Union bloc is the last major party to nominate a candidate for chancellor in the September 26 parliamentary election, in which Merkel is not seeking a fifth four-year term.

The 60-year-old Laschet is the governor of Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. Soeder is the governor of Bavaria.