German conservatives to replace Merkel with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as party head

Меркель ушла кто придет на смену самой влиятельной женщине мира

Angela Merkel's party has been riven by infighting as it prepares for today's vote to decide her replacement as its leader.

Angela Merkel bowed out as leader of her Christian Democrats on Friday (Dec 7) with an emotional speech to her conservative party as it met to pick her successor who will move into pole position to become Germany's next chancellor.

Some grandees have warned that the divisions could lead to a permanent split.

Merkel listed some of those moments and many more in a half-hour farewell speech as leader, telling delegates that "our CDU today is different from the year 2000, and that is a good thing".

Ahead of the party congress, 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".

A close ally of Merkel, Kramp-Karrenbauer (known as "AKK" in Germany) is a down-to-earth, experienced politician, who was formerly the state premier of Saarland.

While Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, is viewed as similar to Merkel with an even temper and middle-of-the-road policies, Merz, 63, has become the torchbearer for those seeking a more decisive break from the chancellor.

Меркель ушла кто придет на смену самой влиятельной женщине мира
Merkel’s party chooses successor to longtime German leader

Whoever wins will face towering challenges for the party, which is now drawing roughly 30% at the polls, far below the around 40% it enjoyed during Merkel's heyday. In Friday's vote, he was backed by CDU members exhausted of Merkel's consensual politics, including party veteran Wolfgang Schaeuble. The third candidate, 38-year-old Jens Spahn, is seen as a rank outsider in the contest, the CDU's first competitive vote for a new leader since 1971.

Most controversially, she allowed large numbers of asylum-seekers into Germany in 2015.

Merkel surprised the country and her party in late October when she announced she would not seek re-election as CDU leader at the party conference in Hamburg after a series of poll setbacks rooted in controversy over her liberal refugee policy. In the 2013 election, they won 41.5 per cent of the vote and only just fell short of an outright parliamentary majority.

"We kept a cool head", she said.

"Now it is time to open a new chapter", Merkel said.

"It has been a great pleasure for me, it has been an honour", she said to a standing ovation lasting almost 10 minutes, and fighting to hold back tears.

She fought back tears as CDU delegates gave her a 10-minute standing ovation accompanied by cheers and cries of "Danke Angie".

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