End of an era: Merkel passes torch to new party leader

End of an era: Merkel passes torch to new party leader

End of an era: Merkel passes torch to new party leader

She hinted that she was backing Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to succeed her, praising her electoral performance as chief minister of Saarland.

Often referred to as Angela Merkel's "protege" and even "Mini Merkel", CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been chosen as the conservative German party's next leader.

The CDU's secretary general, Kramp-Karrenbauer made her case ahead of the vote by saying the CDU had to maintain its position as the "last unicorn in Europe", the bloc's last successful catch-all party.

It also, of course, provides Dr Merkel with a useful shield against a political coup - by laying out the path to succession on her own terms years in advance, she spikes the guns of any would-be challengers from the right of the party, who have grown increasingly frustrated at her losing ground to the populist-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Harvard announced on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will deliver the school's 2019 commencement address on May 30.

"I've read a lot about what I am and who I am - 'mini, ' 'a copy, ' 'simply carrying on the same way, '" she said.

Ahead of the vote, Merkel looked somewhat exhausted and uncharacteristically stumbled over her words during her 30-minute speech before the vote.

The newly elected CDU head has previously opposed the idea of withdrawing support from the Nord Stream 2 project entirely, but suggested reducing the amount of gas obtained via the route from Russian Federation as a response to the recent Kerch incident involving Ukrainian naval ships.

The person who heads the CDU is normally expected to become the next chancellor in Germany, but, first, the woman many see as Merkel Mark II has big problems to fix - namely uniting and breathing new life into a divided old party, at the same time as bringing back CDU voters who've given up on it. At 38, he would stand for a change of generation.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, showed Saturday that she is keen to prevent lasting divisions and to give conservatives and younger members a strong voice.

Others that were considered include Friedrich Merz and Jens Spahn, both of whom have been critical of Merkel in the past.

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 exhausted of Merkel's consensual politics.

"In hard times we shouldn't forget our Christian and democratic stance", she said.

Merkel, 64, has presided over Europe's most populous country and powerful economy for 13 years.

She shot to national attention when she scored a thumping re-election in 2017, a rare bright spot in a slew of regional poll disappointments for the CDU.

For years, Merkel's popularity lifted the CDU and its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union.

German party leaders, including Merkel, have traditionally been selected through backroom deals and faced no competition during confirmation votes at party conventions. In the 2013 election, they won 41.5 percent of the vote and only just fell short of an outright parliamentary majority.

"We are facing a turning point and need a breakthrough for the next years". 'I have always wanted to do my government and party jobs with dignity, and one day to leave them with dignity'.

"Now it is time to open a new chapter", Merkel said. She was greeted by a several-minute standing ovation, with some delegates holding up 'Thank you, boss!' placards.

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