Who Will Replace Angela Merkel as German Conservatives’ Leader?

BERLIN — After 18 years under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, delegates of Germany’s conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union, plan to gather in Hamburg on Friday to elect a new leader who will shape the future of the party and the country, where it remains the strongest political force.

Over the past month, the three main candidates have crisscrossed Germany, presenting themselves and their visions for the party to eight lively regional conferences so crowded that they often had to be moved to larger venues. Some 14,000 members attended, while the events were streamed live to an additional 200,000 people.

It was an unusually transparent and democratic process for a party that has historically chosen its leaders…

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