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Even before the Bundestag elections, Armin Laschet's campaign to become the CDU/CSU's candidate for chancellor was a battle much like boxing, which was coincidently one of the activities he staged as part of his electoral campaign. However, this battle to represent the CDU/CSU as candidate for chancellor was ultimately won by Laschet after a weeks-long tug of war with Markus Söder in spring.
Even after Laschet prevailed though, there were repeated calls for Bavaria's premier, Söder, to replace him. This is because he has seen his popularity plummet recently after a string of public gaffes.
Laughing during a crisis
After disastrous floods hit several areas in Germany, including the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Laschet is premier, the CDU politician did not perform well. His laughter during a speech by the Federal President in a flood-hit town drew criticism. It was enough to help his SPD opponent, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, catch up in the polls.
Laschet's meeting with Elon Musk at the planned Gigafactory in Brandenburg near Berlin was also a source of criticism. Environmental activists are campaigning against the mega-project because it is argued that the facility will use huge quantities of water.
His actions during the pandemic have also caused some upstir, not just for his quick shift on relaxing and reinstating measures, but because of his son. Johannes Laschet is accused of having facilitated a mask deal between the fashion manufacturer, van Laack, and the state chancellery of North-Rhine Westphalia.
Within his own team
Laschet has tried to raise backing with fellow CDU members by reminding them that he is the son of a miner. He also publically declared: "I may not be the man with the best stage presence, but I am Armin Laschet."
In regards to Angela Merkel, he has stated that there are some that put her first and the CDU second. This is something he would like to change. However, he does want to cash in what he calls her national and international reputation of trust. "We need this trust now as a party and this trust is not given to you, it is not inherited, it is not something you can just pass on. You have to earn this trust.", he recently declared at a party conference.
Laschet has also been known to say that Germany does not need a CEO, but a team captain.
During the election campaign, Angela Merkel and Markus Söder backed Armin Laschet, but there seems to be a general lack of enthusiasm for the CDU chancellor candidate.