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Armin Laschet tabbed as German conservative nominee to succeed Merkel

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Armin Laschet tabbed as German conservative nominee to succeed Merkel
Christian Democratic Union leader Armin Laschet speaks at a virtual party congress in Berlin, Germany, on January 16. File Photo by Christian Marquardt/EPA-EFE

April 20 (UPI) -- Armin Laschet on Tuesday became one of the leading candidates to replace Angela Merkel as German chancellor later this year.

Laschet, the leader of the Christian Democrats party, held off a challenge from Markus Soeder and will be the candidate of the center-right conservatives bloc to succeed Merkel when she leaves office in September.

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Laschet's candidacy was solidified when Soeder, the leader of the conservative Christian Social Union, conceded on Tuesday.

"The die is cast. Armin Laschet will be the chancellor candidate for the Union," Soeder said, according to DPA.

Germany's conservative bloc is comprised of the Christian Democrats, Merkel's party, and the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union.

Once he's formally confirmed, Laschet will join Green Party candidate Annalena Baerbock as potential successors to supplant Merkel. Baerbock was named the Greens nominee on Monday.

While Germany's conservative bloc has long ruled the country, there are some concerns about fading popularity in the polls, which have showed conservatives with less than 30% support. The Green Party has become the second most popular group in Germany.

Laschet, a longtime supporter of Merkel's, is less popular among the general electorate outside of conservatives. In a recent survey, Soeder out-polled Laschet 44% to 15% when Germans were asked who is best suited to succeed Merkel.

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The German election will be held Sept. 26.

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