With Merkel stepping down, Merz announces bid to lead CDU

Berlin: Friedrich Merz, a conservative German politician on Wednesday declared his intent to lead the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) following Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to step down from the post.

Addressing a presser here, Merz stated that the CDU is in need of a “renewal” and “a new beginning” in the wake of the heavy losses suffered by the party in the recently conducted regional polls, Anadolu news agency reported.

“We cannot allow voters turning away from established parties out of frustration and giving their votes to populist parties,” Merz said in connection with CDU voters resorting to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the recently conducted polls.

Merz has, in recent months, come out as a strong critic of Merkel’s immigration policy, as Germany has let in over a million refugees since 2015.

He had challenged Merkel for the position of CDU chief in 2002 and left politics in 2009. He then joined an investment management firm.

The CDU will hold an election for choosing their next leader at a forthcoming conference in Hamburg in December.

On Monday, Merkel, who has been Chancellor since 2005, had announced that she would not seek re-election when her term expires in 2021. The four-time Chancellor made the announcement during a news conference in Berlin.