CDU party board backs Laschet to run as German conservative chancellor candidate

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Armin Laschet, leader of Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU), won the backing of senior party members at an internal meeting to run as the conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel at a September federal election, party sources said on Tuesday.

A week-long showdown between Laschet, and Markus Soeder, leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, has done little to impress voters already turned off their conservative bloc by the government's chaotic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the ecologist Greens just a few points behind them, many conservatives are nervous about their prospects at the Sept. 26 election without Merkel, who has led them to four victories but is stepping down after 16 years in power.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Michael Nienaber)