German CDU on verge of electing divisive figure to replace Angela Merkel squib

Millionaire lawyer Friedrich Merz is favourite to take centre-right into federal elections

When Angela Merkel steps down as chancellor this September, she will leave behind a conservative party that has been a practically unchallenged political force in Germany for 16 years and currently leads political polls by a towering 15 percentage points.

And yet the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) may thank her this Saturday by electing as its new leader one of her longest-standing political rivals, a man who represents a return to the pre-Merkel past not just in terms of ideological values but also style of leadership.

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