German Health Minister Jens Spahn is reportedly looking to run for chancellery in the next parliamentary elections in September 2021 to replace the current officeholder Angela Merkel. According to local media reports, Spahn is reaching out to his colleagues in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in order to garner support for the potential move. Spahn had replaced Merkel as the most popular politician in Germany late last year, mostly because of his COVID-19 handling in the country.
The CDU is scheduled to hold an election this month to decide the next party chairperson, a position that had fallen vacant since current Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer resigned in February 2020. Kramp-Karrenbauer had taken over from Merkel as CDU chief in 2018 and was looking to replace Europe's most popular leader at the moment in the next parliamentary elections. Usually, the person who leads the CDU and its smaller coalition partners in the election is elected the Chancellor of the State upon winning the polls. This means that Kramp-Karrenbauer has sidelined herself from the race and has left the doors wide open for Saphn and other candidates looking to replace Merkel. Spahn had contested the 2018 CDU chairperson election, where he secured the third spot but managed to garner praise for his race from party colleagues and the media.
The crucial election for the CDU chief is scheduled to take place in January, which has already been postponed twice over COVID-19 concerns. However, party officials have said that the election will take place this month, even if it takes an online meeting to reach a consensus. Local media reports suggest that other candidates that are looking to fill Merkel's shoes as CDU chief are North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Armin Laschet, corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz, and foreign affairs expert Norbert Rottgen.