Merkel party votes for new leader
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
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, said with Annegret KrampKarrenbauer the party has the best chance of winning an election
He said she would be the most dangerous candidate to face the centre-left Social Democrats and the ecologist Greens
consensual politics. He won support this week from party veteran Wolfgang Schaeuble.
Kramp-Karrenbauer’s trump card is her record as former state premier in Saarland, where she led a broad coalition with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party congress in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday.