German Chancellor Merkel declines to comment on successor

Angela Merkel refused to comment on Bavarian Minister President Markus Soeder’s purported candidacy to succeed her as German chancellor.

By announcing that she will not seek reelection, she has imposed a “particular restraint” on her succession, Merkel on Tuesday said during a joint press conference with Soeder in Bavaria, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Therefore, you will not hear me comment on the issue… in any form or in any forum,” Merkel said, adding that she would only say that “Bavaria has a good premier.”

Germany is scheduled to hold its next parliamentary elections in autumn 2021.

Last year, German media identified Merkel’s potential successors. The list included Soeder, former leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag Friedrich Merz, Health Minister Jens Spahn, and minister president of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet.

Support for Soeder’s candidacy has increased in recent days as he imposed strict measures to contain the pandemic in the southern German state.