As reported by Reuters, Germany’s leading political party, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Party (CDU) will be voting for a new party leader as Merkel gets set to end an era of her leadership. Merkel will be maintaining her position for the time being, but will be stepping down as the leader of the CDU in an effort to give her party time to make a clean transition.
The frontrunners are Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a Merkel protege seen as the continuity candidate, and Friedrich Merz, a Merkel rival who has questioned the constitutional guarantee of asylum to all “politically persecuted” and believes Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, should contribute more to the European Union.
The new CDU leader will be chosen by 1,001 delegates who vote at a party congress in Hamburg. The winner will likely lead the CDU in the next federal election due by October 2021.
A survey by pollster Infratest dimap for broadcaster ARD on Thursday showed 47 percent of CDU members favored Kramp-Karrenbauer compared with 37 percent for Merz and 12 percent for Health Minister Jens Spahn.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a Merkel ally, said: “I am convinced that with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer we have the best chance of the CDU winning an election,” adding she would be the most dangerous candidate to face the center-left Social Democrats and the ecologist Greens.
By contrast, Merz takes clear positions that appeal to rank-and-file party members hungry for a more clearly defined party after 13 years under Merkel as chancellor. He wants tax cuts, a stronger EU and a more robust approach to challenging the far-right.