Leader of Merkel’s party vows to boost German voters’ trust

BERLIN (AP) — The new leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has pledged to restore voters’ confidence after discontent over Germany’s pandemic management. There has also been a scandal over lawmakers enriching themselves in mask-procurement deals, leading to a sharp drop in approval ratings. Armin Laschet, the governor of Germany’s most populous state, won the leadership of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union in January. He hopes to succeed Merkel as chancellor, but the center-right bloc dominated by the CDU hasn’t yet decided on its candidate for the Sept. 26 national election. This month, the CDU suffered bad losses in two state elections, while national polls have shown the Union giving up gains it made in the early stages of the pandemic.