Vote to elect new German party leader delayed

Berlin, April 25 (IANS) Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was set to elect a new party leader on Saturday but the vote has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic leaving an air of mystery around who Chancellor Angela Merkel’s heir will be.

“There will be no election now or in the coming months. Big events have been suspended. The next appointment will be the regular December congress. But right now forecasts are not valid,” Efe news quoted Friedrich Merz, of the CDU, as saying.

Merz is one of the contenders running for the leadership contest, along with Norbert Rottgen and Armin Laschet, North Rhine-Westphalia state premier, all of whom would have been fighting for the vote of 1,001 CDU delegates on Saturday.

Merz and Rottgen have been given minimal media attention.

Laschet, however, has been criticized for trying to ease restrictions despite his region being one of the most affected by COVID-19 in the country.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Merkel has enjoyed a renewed praise for her leadership capacity.

After 15 years in power, she is the country’s highest-rated politician, and her conservative bloc has soared in the polls to the highest levels since launching her fourth term in 2017.

As of Saturday, Germany has reported 154,545 coronavirus cases, with 5,767 deaths.