The Chronicle

Germany veers to the left

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BERLIN: Former supporters of Armin Laschet, the leader of Germany’s conservati­ve CDU party, have put the knife into him by claiming his socialist rival is better placed to form the next government after this week’s general election.

They were joined in the criticism by Markus Soder, Bavaria’s chief minister and leader of the CSU, the sister party of Mr Laschet’s CDU group.

“Olaf Scholz clearly has the best chance to become chancellor,” he said, adding the conservati­ves had suffered a “serious defeat”.

Mr Scholz’s Social Democrat party (SPD) won 25.7 per cent of the vote, a 5.2point gain that had seemed impossible weeks ago and has been attributed mainly to confidence that he would make a better successor to Angela Merkel than the gaffe-prone Mr Laschet (pictured).

The conservati­ves slumped to 24.1 per cent from 32.9 per cent four years ago. Coalition talks will soon be under way.

Mr Soder said that no “moral legitimacy to govern” could be derived from the conservati­ves’ second place and they should only stand ready to hold coalition talks if negotiatio­ns for an SPD coalition with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats failed.

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