The executive board of Angela Merkel's party backed Armin Laschet to be the conservative party's next chancellor candidate for upcoming elections, reported AFP.
In a bid to draw a line under a bitter battle with challenger Markus Soeder, several dozen CDU board members voted 77.5% in favour of Laschet after more than six hours of talks.
Bavarian premier Soeder from the smaller CSU sister party got 22.5% votes. Soeder earlier said he would accept the CDU's decision and step aside "without resentment" if senior members favoured his rival.
CSU's Soeder is more popular than Armin Laschet in opinion surveys, reported AFP. The week-long power struggle has pushed the stable CDU-CSU alliance to the brink of breaking apart. In a poll done by public broadcaster ARD, 44% of Germans voted in favour of Soeder of being more qualified to be the next candidate for CDU-CSU for upcoming chancellor elections.
Armin, who was ultimately picked by CDU as the next candidate only won 15% votes in his support.
Earlier, Soeder had told reporters that CDU as "the bigger sister party" had the final say in picking the next candidate. He further said, "We don't want to and we won't see a rift between the CSU and the CDU."
The conservative party has lost some support recently due to their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.Current Chancellor Angela Merkel will be stepping down from power after 16 years. While Merkel was present at the marathon talks for the next pick, she didn't give inputs to the discussion.
Talking about her involvement in the debate for the next pick, she said last week, "I wanted to, want to and will stay out of it."Some participants at the Monday marathon talks interpreted Merkel's silence as a lack of support for Armin. Laschet, a long-time Merkel ally, had already secured the backing of top brass from the CDU last week but Soeder refused to back down, pointing to his popularity ratings among the German public and support from CDU and CSU lawmakers.