Bavarian CSU rallies to struggling Laschet as German vote looms

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BERLIN, September 11 (Reuters) – Armin Laschet, the Conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as German Chancellor, received strong support from the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria on Saturday as he strives to close the gap in the polls with the Democrats (SPD) two weeks before the national elections.

Christian Democratic leader (CDU) Laschet, candidate for chancellor of Angela Merkel’s CDU / CSU alliance, struggles to attract voters ahead of September 26 vote in which Merkel does not seek a historic fifth term .

CDU greats backed Laschet in April as a conservative candidate ahead of popular CSU leader Markus Soeder. The two parties form a parliamentary bloc and some in Bavaria are not very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​the common candidate.

However, on the last day of their party’s conference, CSU delegates clapped and cheered as Laschet walked into the room and gave him a long standing ovation after a broad and combative speech.

Laschet said the election was a watershed moment for Germany, even though the past few weeks had not gone so well for the Tories. He targeted his SPD rival Olaf Scholz, currently finance minister in the ruling coalition with the Conservatives.

“He only did a decent job (with the economy) because Angela Merkel was watching him,” he said with a laugh.

He also demanded an apology from Scholz for criticizing prosecutors who raided the finance and justice ministries as part of an investigation into the government’s anti-money laundering agency. Read more

Thursday’s searches, which highlight German failures in the fight against financial crime, come at a pivotal moment for Scholz who said prosecutors could have put their “direct” questions in writing.

“At a time when prosecutors are looking for a ministry, the right answer is to say that we will help prosecutors, not to question the rule of law. It helps populists when you react like that,” Laschet said under thunderous applause.

“I hope he apologizes,” said Laschet, adding that Germany should be a model for accepting the actions of justice officials as it criticizes populist governments elsewhere for discrediting prosecutors and law enforcement officials. judges.

At the end of the speech, Soeder grabbed Laschet’s hand and held it up in the air, calling him the next Chancellor of Germany.

“We fully support our candidate for vice-chancellor and wish to see Armin Laschet in the chancellery,” the CSU chief said in his opening speech on Friday.

An FGW poll on Friday estimated support for the SPD at 25%, ahead of the CDU / CSU bloc at 22%, the Greens at 17%.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mike Harrison

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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