Kramp-Karrenbauer to succeed Merkel as head of Christian Democrat party

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a long-time ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel, has won a tight run-off vote on Friday to succeed the chancellor as the head of Germany’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a long-time ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel, has won a tight run-off vote on Friday to succeed the chancellor as the head of Germany’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).

Of the 999 votes cast at a party conference in Hamburg, 517 – or 52 per cent – were in favour of Kramp-Karrenbauer, while 482 (48 per cent) backed Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who had been attempting a comeback after being sidelined by Merkel nearly a decade ago.

The third candidate, Health Minister Jens Spahn, was eliminated in the first round of voting earlier on Friday.

Securing the CDU top job represents a major step for Kramp-Karrenbauer toward becoming chancellor once Merkel steps down in 2021.

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.

She also rejected claims that she was a “mini Merkel”.

“People consider me a ‘mini,’ a copy, a simple ‘more of the same,’ but I can tell you that I stand here as my own person, just as life has shaped me and of that I am proud,” she told delegates attending the conference.

 

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