Live blog: German CDU picks new leader

Germany’s governing Christian Democratic Union on Saturday elects a new leader, who’ll have a big chance of succeeding Angela Merkel as chancellor.

Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen are vying for the chairmanship of the center-right party at an online-only congress overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Merkel herself held the CDU post for 18 years before handing over to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, now Germany’s defense minister. But Kramp-Karrenbauer couldn’t establish control of the party so the job is up for grabs again — just nine months ahead of a general election that will herald Merkel’s retirement.

The party leader is not guaranteed to be the German center right’s candidate for chancellor but will have a good shot at securing the nomination. Other possible candidates include Markus Söder, the leader of the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria and premier of the southern state, and German Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Follow POLITICO’s live blog for the latest news, reaction and analysis from the leadership election.

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