An­gela Merkel party votes for new leader

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - —Reuters

Ham­burg: An­gela Merkel’s Chris­tian Democrats voted on Fri­day to de­cide who will re­place her as party leader and will move into pole po­si­tion to suc­ceed her as Ger­man chan­cel­lor.

The fron­trun­ners are An­negret Kramp-kar­ren­bauer, a Merkel pro­tege seen as the con­ti­nu­ity can­di­date, and Friedrich Merz, a Merkel ri­val who has ques­tioned the con­sti­tu­tional guar­an­tee of asy­lum to all “po­lit­i­cally per­se­cuted” and be­lieves Ger­many, Europe’s big­gest econ­omy, should con­trib­ute more to the Euro­pean Union (EU).

Merkel said in Oc­to­ber that she would step down as party chief but re­main chan­cel­lor, an ef­fort to man­age her exit af­ter a se­ries of set­backs since her di­vi­sive de­ci­sion in 2015 to keep Ger­man bor­ders open to refugees flee­ing war in the Mid­dle East. The new CDU leader will be cho­sen by 1,001 del­e­gates who vote at a party congress in Ham­burg. The win­ner will likely lead the CDU in the next fed­eral elec­tion due by Oc­to­ber 2021.

A sur­vey by poll­ster In­frat­est dimap for broad­caster ARD on Thurs­day showed 47 per cent of CDU mem­bers favoured Kramp-kar­ren­bauer com­pared with 37 per cent for Merz and 12 per cent for Health Minister Jens Spahn. Merz, 63, who lost out to Merkel in a power strug­gle in 2002 and is re­turn­ing to pol­i­tics af­ter a decade in busi­ness, is backed by CDU mem­bers tired of Merkel’s con­sen­sual pol­i­tics.

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