Berlin (dpa) - CSU boss Markus Söder expects a decision on the candidate for chancellor of the Union in January. «The question of who will run as candidate for chancellor will probably not be decided until January.

The CDU elects a new chairman in December. You have to wait and see, »said the Bavarian Prime Minister of the« Welt am Sonntag ». "Who knows what will happen until then." When asked if he would think again about his role in the federal government, Söder said: "I was only thinking in general."

Söder had emphasized several times that his place was in Bavaria. However, its poll ratings rose sharply in the Corona crisis, in some cases far ahead of other potential chancellor candidates. North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet clearly behind. Söder performed best among the candidates for the chancellor's candidacy in the ARD Germany trend three weeks ago, both among all respondents and among Union supporters.

Before the K question, however, the successor of CDU boss Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer must be clarified. Laschet, the economic politician Friedrich Merz and the foreign politician Norbert Röttgen are applying for the CDU chairmanship - and thus indirectly the candidacy. Laschet competes in tandem with Spahn in the race for party chairmanship. The health minister is to become deputy chairman in the event of Laschet's victory at the party convention.

Prime Minister of the Saarland, Tobias Hans, does not believe that other well-known candidates are registering for the party chairmanship. "I am currently not assuming that there are further applications," said the CDU politician of the German Press Agency. But it goes without saying that candidates can apply until December. After the election, "the CDU and CSU chairs would talk about who would become chancellor candidate". The Saar CDU chief added: «Up to now this has always been a good practice. And this will be the case again this time. » Both the CDU and CSU chairs are “natural aspirants for the chancellor candidacy”.

Kramp-Karrenbauer's successor should have been clarified long ago. A special party conference planned for April was canceled due to the Corona crisis. Now there should be no special party convention before the regular party conference in December. It was also discussed with the candidates that it made no sense to hold a special party conference a few weeks before a regular party congress, Kramp-Karrenbauer told the station n-tv a few days ago.

Röttgen assumes that the competition for candidates for the party chairmanship will not pick up until autumn. "I think it is realistic that maybe two months before the party congress we will have a more intensive competition between the candidates and that we will perform together - as originally planned," said the 54-year-old "Zeit online".

In the interview, Röttgen also defended the controversial proposals from Germany and France, as well as from the EU Commission, to support countries particularly affected by Corona with direct grants instead of loans. If Italy and Spain would now feel "let down by the other Europeans after years of austerity", "we would be very close to the failure of the EU", warned Röttgen. Röttgen described Merz's accusation to Italy as "trying to get unlimited refinancing options for his state budget in the slipstream of Corona" as "an unfortunate statement".

Interview Röttgen