Surprise candidate throws hat in ring to lead Germany's ruling CDU





Berlin (dpa) - The starting pistol was sounded in the race to become leader of Germany's governing Christian Democrats (CDU) on Tuesday, as former minister Norbert Roettgen told dpa he had officially applied for the top post in German party politics.



Norbert Roettgen
Norbert Roettgen
Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU was thrown into turmoil last week when Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she would resign as party leader and ruled out running as the conservatives' top candidate in elections set for next year.
The shock announcement cast doubt over Merkel's carefully constructed retirement plan, after she handed over the CDU party reigns to Kramp-Karrenbauer in late 2018 expecting her to go on to succeed her as chancellor.
Roettgen is the first CDU figure to formally throw his hat in the ring to take over from Kramp-Karrenbauer. The CDU is currently in coalition with its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, and the Social Democrats.
Until now, speculation had focussed on long-time Merkel rival Friedrich Merz, Health Minister Jens Spahn and Armin Laschet, premier of Germany's most populous state of North Rhine Westphalia, as possible contenders.
Roettgen, 54, is to give a press conference at 11 am (1000 GMT).
He served as federal environment minister from October 2009 to May 2012
Kramp-Karrenbauer, who has vowed to lead the party until a new CDU leader is found, is to hold talks with Merz, Laschet and Spahn later Tuesday.

 


Tuesday, February 18th 2020
(dpa)
           


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