Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right party has elected Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany's most populous state, as its new leader - sending a signal of continuity months before an election in which voters will decide who becomes the new chancellor.
Laschet defeated Friedrich Merz, a conservative and one-time Merkel rival, at an online convention Saturday of the Christian Democratic Union.
Laschet won 521 votes to Merz's 466; a third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting.
Saturday's vote isn't the final word on who will run as the centre-right candidate for chancellor in Germany's September 26 election, but Laschet will either run for chancellor or will have a big say in who does.
There had been no clear favourite going into Saturday's vote at an online convention of the CDU.
A first round of voting among some 1000 delegates produced a virtual tie between Merz and Laschet, with neither winning a majority.
Australian Associated Press