GERMANY MERKEL’S PARTY CHOOSES LEADER
HAMBURG Angela Merkel’s centre-right party elected an ally of the longtime German chancellor as its new leader on Friday, opting for continuity and experience as it handed her the challenge of improving the party’s elec- toral fortunes.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, often known as “AKK,” narrowly defeated one-time Merkel rival Friedrich Merz to become the Christian Democratic Union’s new chairwoman. The vote came hours after the party feted Merkel with a lengthy standing ovation as she wrapped up 18 years at the helm.
Merkel has said she plans to remain chancellor until Germany’s next election, which is due in 2021. Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU general-secretary since Febru- ary and previously a popular state governor, is now the favourite to run for chancellor in that vote.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, is the closest to Merkel’s centrist stance but rejects the notion that she would be a Merkel clone.
“I’ve read a lot about what I am and who Iam—‘mini,’ ‘a copy,’ ‘simply carrying on the same way,’” she said. “I stand here as I am and how life has formed me,a nd Iam proud of that.”