Laschet wins battle to lead Merkel’s bloc in German election

BERLIN (AP) — The governor of Germany’s most populous state has won a bruising power struggle to become the candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc in the September election that will pick Merkel’s successor. Armin Laschet now faces another big battle to connect with voters and win over frustrated fellow conservatives who backed his more popular rival for the nomination. Bavarian governor Markus Soeder conceded the nomination on Tuesday. Their Union bloc was the last major political force to nominate a candidate for chancellor in the Sept. 26 parliamentary election. Merkel isn’t seeking a fifth term after nearly 16 years in power.