German chancellor candidates face off in 1st election debate

BERLIN (AP) — The three candidates to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s election have sought to gain an advantage in the closely fought race in a televised debate, with recent polls suggesting that many voters are unimpressed with the choice they face. The contenders in the Sept. 26 parliamentary election are Armin Laschet for Merkel’s center-right Union bloc, Olaf Scholz for the center-left Social Democrats and Annalena Baerbock for the environmentalist Greens. No candidate appeared to score decisive points or commit a major error in Sunday’s debate, the first of three. It saw at times combative performances from Laschet and Baerbock, the two candidates who face most pressure.