Up to the moment when Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced that she would step down as party boss, few had considered the idea that Armin Laschet might lead the Christian Democrats (CDU). A December 2018 opinion poll revealed that Laschet, the state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, was anything but a hot contender to succeed Kramp-Karrenbauer — let alone Chancellor Angela Merkel. But that has all changed. Laschet has not signaled that he wishes to run for either post — possibly because his position as the executive of Germany’s most populous state automatically makes him a potential candidate to succeed Kramp-Karrenbauer and Merkel. The 58-year-old, who was born in Aachen, has headed a coalition government with Germany’s laissez-faire Free Democrats (FDP) since spring 2017. And approval ratings for the NRW branch of his CDU party have since been solid. Read more: Could Angela Merkel’s CDU make a turn to the right? Germany’s CDU: Who are the top candidates? Armin Laschet: Affable state premier Laschet, a trained journalist and former European Parliament member, has headed Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017. The liberal-conservative Catholic is a Merkel supporter — and backed her in the 2015 refugee crisis. He is known for being able to work with both… Read full this story
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