Three contrasting contenders in Germany vie to succeed Merkel

BERLIN — Three high-profile contenders are vying to lead Angela Merkel’s party as the longtime German chancellor makes way after 18 years for a successor who could shape the European Union’s most populous country for the next generation. The center-right Christian Democratic Union will elect on Friday a new chairman or chairwoman, who will be the favorite to run for chancellor in Germany’s next election. Merkel has been CDU leader since 2000 and chancellor since 2005. She moved her party relentlessly to the center, dropping military conscription, accelerating Germany’s exit from nuclear energy, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children and allowing the…