Berlin, April 13 : The Presidium or executive body of Germany's governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has decided to back party leader Armin Laschet's bid to succeed Angela Merkel as Chancellor, Volker Bouffier, Minister President of Hesse state, said.
However, the final decision on the candidacy has not yet been made, Xinhua news agency quoted Bouffier as saying on Monday.
There were "two excellent candidates", Bouffier said, referring to Laschet's contender Markus Soeder, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU's sister party, and Minister President of Bavaria.
Bouffier said he expected a final decision within a week.
Five months before the federal elections in Germany in September, the CDU/CSU is widely expected to remain the strongest political force and would most likely also provide the country's next chancellor.
According to a survey published by Kantar Emnid on Sunday, the CDU/CSU would win 27 per cent of the vote, followed by the Green Party (22 per cent) and the Social Democratic Party (15 per cent).
Laschet said was pleased with the CDU Presidium's support.
However, "this was not a preliminary decision today, it was an opinion poll of the CDU and its 15 state associations".
The stage is now set for a showdown between Laschet and Soeder, who on Sunday confirmed his claim to the candidacy.
According to a recent INSA survey, 37 per cent of German voters favoUred Soeder against Laschet's 14 per cent.