National Post (National Edition) - - WORLD -

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.”

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