The German conservative party, the CDU, has found a new leader.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was elected president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on Friday, December 7, succeeding Angela Merkel. Faithful to her predecessor, she replaces the German Chancellor, who will leave the post after 18 years of reign.
The former State Premier of Saarland, a small state in the south-west of the country received 517 of the 999 votes cast by the party’s delegates at a congress in Hamburg. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer the new CDU leader was elected with a narrow majority of 51.7% of votes.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, heir to the German Chancellor is frequently nicknamed by her initials “AKK”, but also by her critics as “Merkel 2” or even “Mini-Merkel”, because of her loyalty to the Chancellor.
The 56-year-old Catholic is a centrist who will rule the CDU, a party that ruled Germany for half a century over the past 70 years.
All indications are that Angela Merkel is entering her final phase of her remarkable and unusual career. She intends to remain at the head of the government until the end of her fourth term at the end of 2021 but she gives way to the head of the CDU party. Her current term as chancellor, which began in March, the fourth since she came to power in 2005, will be “the last,” she said.
At the deadline of 2021, she also said she did not have the ambition to start a career in the European institutions. In other words, she will then put an end to her first-rate political career.
In two years, she will overtake her protégé Helmut Kohl’s record as the longest serving Chancellor of postwar Germany. Only Otto von Bismarck in the 19th century will have served longer than Merkel.
Before Merkel became Chancellor in 2005, no woman had held high political office. Her own party was dominated by socially conservative, southern, Catholic lawyers. The party’s view was that women should concentrate on was Kinder, Küche, Kirche – Children, Kitchen and Church.
However, this changed with Merkel. A woman with a doctorate in quantum chemistry, she did not conform to the standard of female Christian Democrat politicians.
“I can, I want and I will be”
In style, AKK andAngela Merkel also resemble. Like Merkel, the Saarlander is not a brilliant speaker. She is also “always carefully prepared, very lively and full of self-confidence”, says the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel. She wants to become chancellor, a path that her eventual accession to the presidency of the party opens up for her.
The European elections next year will be a first test for the new head.