German ruling bloc seeks unifying figure as next CDU party head: report

BERLIN, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU conservative alliance is seeking someone with mainstream appeal to be the leader of the country’s largest party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), the German Press Agency (DPA) reported on Saturday.

Merkel said earlier this week that she would not seek re-election as CDU leader at a party conference in December, triggering a race to be her successor.

“We are looking for someone with considerable power to bring people together,” said CDU lawmaker Christian Haase, who represents the coalition of the CDU and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), at local level.

“The young and the old, women and men, all groups of society have to be able to find their political home with us,” Haase said. “Our values must be clearly found in our day-to-day politics.”

The CDU is holding a party conference on Sunday to discuss the leadership question, DPA said.

According to a poll published Saturday, Merkel’s announcement that she was stepping down as party head had no effect on respondents’ preferences for chancellor, with Merkel far ahead in direct comparison with two potential Social Democratic candidates.

Merkel, who has been chancellor for 13 years and party leader for 18 years, said on Monday that she planned to step down as chancellor when her current term expires in 2021.

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