A total of five of them are running; the future Chancellor candidate of the Center-Right in the federal elections of September 2021 will be one of them.
Two are former rivals of Merkel, who are trying to get out of what, within the CDU, is called the "men’s cemetery", the "Männerfriedhof". "There" are all the real or supposed Alpha males that the Chancellor has marginalized during her long career. The first to declare himself is Norbert Röttgen, former Minister of the Environment, who was dismissed in 2012 by the Head of Government. The second is Friedrich Merz, former leader of the parliamentary opposition to Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, ousted by Merkel, who took his place in 2002. For both of them, the race for the succession tastes of rehabilitation, if not revenge.