Merkel’s suc­ce­sor quits

Antelope Valley Press - - SECOND FRONT -

BER­LIN (AP) — Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s heir ap­par­ent shook up Ger­man pol­i­tics Mon­day by declar­ing she would step down as the gov­ern­ing party’s leader and not run for chan­cel­lor, fu­el­ing un­cer­tainty in the coun­try seen as Europe’s an­chor of sta­bil­ity amid Brexit and pres­sure from the far right.

An­negret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, whose flag­ging sup­port dropped fur­ther af­ter regional Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union law­mak­ers ig­nored the party’s in­struc­tions, told se­nior CDU mem­bers she won’t seek the chan­cel­lor­ship in next year’s elec­tion. The sur­prise de­ci­sion up­ended Merkel’s plan to hand Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer the reins af­ter leading Ger­many for more than 15 years.

“I took note of this de­ci­sion with the ut­most re­spect, but I also say that I re­gret it,” Merkel told re­porters, thank­ing Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer for her work and for agree­ing to stay on un­til a new party leader is cho­sen. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer plans to re­main in her role as Ger­many’s de­fense min­is­ter.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed days of in-fight­ing within the party over the elec­tion of a gover­nor in the state of Thuringia. Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union leg­is­la­tors there voted with the far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many party (AfD) last week to oust a left-wing in­cum­bent.

The CDU rep­re­sen­ta­tives not only de­fied Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer’s ad­vance ap­peals and un­der­mined her lead­er­ship, but broke what is widely re­garded as a taboo in post-war Ger­man pol­i­tics around co­op­er­at­ing with ex­trem­ist par­ties.

“The AfD stands against ev­ery­thing we as the CDU rep­re­sent,” Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer told re­porters Mon­day in Ber­lin.


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