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Merkel Visit to Bavaria Looks to Some Like Coronation of a Successor

Angela Merkel and Markus Soeder in Bavaria, on July 14.
Angela Merkel and Markus Soeder in Bavaria, on July 14.

Photographer: Peter Kneffel/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

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After four months of near isolation, Chancellor Angela Merkel went on a unusual trip to visit Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder, fueling his status as the leading contender to serve as her heir.

With the optics of a coronation, Merkel was taken by boat and then horse-drawn coach to the opulent Herrenchiemsee palace southeast of Munich for an extraordinary meeting of the state’s cabinet. Bild, Germany’s largest newspaper, called him the “crown prince” and carried Merkel’s arrival at the island estate live.