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Soeder gets popularity boost for German chancellery run in latest poll – Metro US

Soeder gets popularity boost for German chancellery run in latest poll

CSU party leader Markus Soeder and CDU party leader Armin
CSU party leader Markus Soeder and CDU party leader Armin Laschet meet in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Bavarian Markus Soeder got a boost on Friday in the race to become the conservative bloc’s chancellor candidate ahead of German election in September as a poll showed he is considerably more popular among voters than his rival Armin Laschet.

With Christian Democrat (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel stepping down after the election, pressure is mounting on the bloc to agree on a candidate as its ratings wallow near a one-year low.

The government is struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as a more transmissible variant sweeps through Germany.

The race between Armin Laschet, CDU chairman, and Soeder, head of the CDU’s Bavarian CSU sister party, has descended into a messy spat despite both men vowing on Sunday to make a quick and amicable decision.

An ARD Deutschlandtrend survey found 44% of German voters and 72% of CDU/CSU supporters considered Soeder to be the more suitable candidate for chancellor.

In contrast only 15% of Germans and 17% of CDU/CSU backers think Laschet, who is premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is the more suitable candidate, the survey by the Infratest Dimap polling institute found.

Soeder, whose swagger, confidence and directness made him consistently more popular with voters, has sought to make his popularity a decisive a factor in the race.

CSU deputy party leader Dorothee Baer kept up the pressure on Friday telling Deutschlandfunk radio that the bloc should nominate the person who had the best chances of winning.

“At least as far as the union side is concerned, I would say he is the one who has the most support,” she said.

But Laschet ally and Health Minister Jens Spahn said Laschet was the natural choice. “We elected him as our chairman in January. And everyone who voted for him knew that he was also nominating the CDU’s candidate for chancellor,” he told Deutschlandfunk.

He said the candidacy question should be clarified this week with Laschet and Soeder ideally coming to an agreement.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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