Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer elected Merkel’s successor as CDU leader
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a staunchly Catholic conservative career politician, has been elected as the successor to Angela Merkel as leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats.
Kramp-Karrenbauer won by just 25 votes following a nail-biting second round run-off against her main opponent, the multi-millionaire businessman, Friedrich Merz.
Wiping away tears, Kramp-Karrenbauer said she would accept the post, and thanked the party for its support and trust in her, insisting she would give new impetus to the party as it seeks to claw back the millions of voters it has lost to rightwing populists and the Greens in recent years.
“We should harness the boost this competition has given us, and use it to propel the party’s success,” she said.
Dubbed a mini-Merkel - a title she is determined to discard - Kramp-Karrenbauer was not officially endorsed by the chancellor, but was clearly her favourite, having been propelled by her to the position as the party’s general secretary in February this year.
But in a veiled sign of her support earlier in the day, Merkel made a point of praising Kramp-Karrenbauer for her contribution to the CDU’s electoral success during a valedictory speech to the party on Friday morning.
The result is seen as making it more likely that Merkel will be able to see out her fourth term until 2021. She has expressed her determination to stay on as chancellor for the remaining three years of her term in office and 56% of Germans support her decision to do so, polls show…
Kramp-Karrenbauer - or AKK as she is popularly known, not least because many Germans find her double-barrelled name difficult to pronounce - will now be viewed as a potential future chancellor if the CDU wins the next election in 2021.
The mother of three, a self-professed strict Catholic who has served as state leader of Saarland and before that was its interior minister, has a total of 18 years’ leadership experience, all of which stood her in good stead to win the vote.