Two frontrunners with opposing visions are vying to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in a crucial vote for the future of the EU's dominant country. One is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a Merkel protege seen as the candidate of continuity. The other is Friedrich Merz, a long-time Merkel rival who promises more radical change. Jens Spahn, the federal health minister, is also in the running.
The outcome of the vote for a new leader at a party congress is crucial not only for the CDU, which governs in a three-party coalition but also for the future of the European Union's dominant country and biggest economy. Merkel remains chancellor but whoever takes over the CDU is likely to be its candidate in the next federal election, due by October 2021.