Friedrich Merz, a longtime Christian Democrat and frequent intraparty critic of Chancellor Angela Merkel, is a potential front-runner to replace the German leader. It would mark Merz’s second bid at a comeback in less than two years, after the chancellor’s chosen successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, announced that she will step down as CDU leader — and not run in the 2021 race for Germany’s top job. Merz had challenged Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is affectionately referred to as AKK by party loyalists, for the very role in December 2018. Though the former German lawmaker has yet to declare his intention to stand for CDU leadership, Merz announced in early February that he was quitting his post at BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management firm, to dig back into politics to help the conservative party “renew itself.” 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 the FDP and… Read full this story
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