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Germany’s CDU set to wait until January to choose new leader

BERLIN – Germany’s centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), who suffered a bitter election loss in September, will choose a new leader in January next year, sources told dpa on Tuesday.

The successor to Armin Laschet, who was partly blamed for a lacklustre election campaign, will be chosen at a party conference on January 21 in Hanover, according to participants at a CDU meeting.

The CDU are set to be kicked out of power after 16 years in government under CDU Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is stepping down.

Three other parties – election victors the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats – are in negotiations to form the next government.

This means the next CDU leader will mostly likely be the top figure in opposition for the next four years.

The conference in January is expected to follow a ballot of all party members – a process that could start on November 15 with letters to members officially informing them of the vote.

None of the politicians seen as the main contenders have declared their candidacy at this early stage. Top among them are the current Health Minister Jens Spahn, businessman Friedrich Merz on the right of the party, and Norbert Roettgen who is seen as a centrist.

“My wish is that we quickly come to decisions that will provide us with clarity,” said the CDU state premier of North Rhine Westphalia, Hendrik Wuest.

Deputy party chairman Julia Kloeckner said the CDU now had a chance to “remake itself” as a “modern party.”

The state premier of Saarland, Tobias Hans was apparently a lone voice among senior CDU figures saying January was too late for a decision on the next party leader.

He argued that it would give the incoming government too much time to set the agenda without coherent opposition.

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