MERKEL’S PARTY PICKS HER ALLY AS NEW LEADER
HAMBURG: German conservatives opted for continuity rather than change on Friday, electing Annegret Kramp-karrenbauer, an ally of Angela Merkel, to succeed Merkel as their party leader.
The vote by delegates of the Christian Democratic Union is the first major step into the postmerkel era after her 18 years as leader of Europe’s biggest conservative party and 13 years as chancellor.
For many conservatives, it also served as an endorsement of Merkel’s legacy.
By choosing Kramp-karrenbauer, 56, a woman whose modest leadership style is reminiscent of the chancellor’s, the party signalled a desire to keep to the centrist, socially conscious course set by Merkel.
As party leader, she is likely to become the Christian Democrats’ candidate for chancellor during the next general election, scheduled for 2021.
Friday’s vote increased Merkel’s chances of maintaining the current coalition government with the centre-left Social Democrats, and completing what she says will be her final term in office.