German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid Bavaria’s premier a visit but failed to select him as her successor ahead of the 2021 federal vote.
Merkel’s decision to attend a meeting of Bavaria’s cabinet was widely seen as a coronation of her successor after the wealthy southern state’s aggressive management of the coronavirus crisis raised Soeder’s profile nationally.
“You will not hear me comment on the issue of who will succeed me in any form or in any forum,” she said. “All I can say is that Bavaria has a good premier and he invited me today.”
Soeder was among the first of Germany’s 16 powerful state premiers to impose lockdowns and roll out mass testing programmes for people as the virus was spreading leading to panic.
Some interpreted Soeder’s decision to invite Merkel to Herrenchiemsee, a castle on an island in a lake where Germany’s constitution was drafted in 1948, as a calculated move to present him as a national, rather than merely Bavarian leader.
Angela Merkel declined to be any more specific, however, adding in response to further questioning that she would always accept invitations from state premiers.