The woman campaigning to succeed Angela Merkel as head of Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU) says she may consider quotas to get more women in parliament, as she positions for a party election in December.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was placed second in a poll released by newspaper Bild am Sonntag, with support from 32 per cent of conservatives, behind businessman Friedrich Merz with 49 per cent in favour of him succeeding Merkel at a party congress on December 7.
The poll, which questioned members of the Bavarian CSU as well as the CDU, put Health Minister Jens Spahn third, with 7 per cent.
But in another poll of a more narrow sampling of CDU supporters for broadcaster ARD, Kramp-Karrenbauer, CDU general secretary, won 46 per cent compared with 31 per cent for Merz and 12 per cent for Spahn.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said that many in the party had failed to take seriously a 1996 CDU rule that a third of party list candidates should be women, and said a fall in the proportion of CDU lawmakers to one-fifth in the 2017 elections could be a vote loser.
Creating quotas for parliament was "a last resort", she said.
"But it would be naive to think we can just let the issue run its course."
On another policy front, Kramp-Karrenbauer criticised dual citizenship rules, accusing Turkey's leadership of trying to split the loyalties of German-Turkish dual nationals.
"If that continues, then dual citizenship is missing its sense and purpose, and we must talk about how we end this system," she told Der Spiegel magazine.
The former premier of the western state of Saarland said she supported a plan under which the children of immigrants received a second passport, but their children would not.
The CDU voted in 2016 to end dual citizenship, but Merkel subsequently said she did not feel bound by the vote.
Merkel, now in her fourth term, has said she will step down as party leader but will remain chancellor through 2021.
Australian Associated Press