Merkel’s successor faces an uphill struggle to unite his party

Analysis: centrist Armin Laschet, the new leader of Germany’s CDU, will need to deliver on promises of reconciliation

The election of Armin Laschet as the new leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, has been welcomed by those hoping for a smooth transition after the imminent departure of Angela Merkel from political leadership. But his detractors have warned he faces an uphill challenge to unite not just his party but also the country in the case he becomes chancellor, at a time of national crisis and division.

Laschet, who is now in line to succeed Merkel as chancellor after the parliamentary elections in September, secured victory at the weekend despite the odds having been on Friedrich Merz, a prominent conservative and investment banker. Norbert Röttgen, chair of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee dropped out after the first round, prompting many of his supporters to back Laschet. The digital vote must still be confirmed by a postal ballot.

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