Merkel's would-be successor Kramp-Karrenbauer won’t run for chancellor, steps down as CDU head amid ruling coalition mayhem

Monday - 10/02/2020 10:37
FILE PHOTO: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer © REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel
FILE PHOTO: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer © REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany's Defense Minister and Angela Merkel's protégé, is resigning as leader of the Chancellor's CDU party and will not seek to compete for the country's top job in the next election.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, or AKK as she likes to be known, announced on Monday that she will no longer lead the Christian Democrats (CDU). Likewise, she won’t be running for chancellor in the next election in October 2021.

AKK said she will remain the chair of the CDU until the party finds another candidate for the top job. She also told media that she’ll keep her post as Germany’s defense minister until the end of the current legislative period.

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A CDU spokesman said earlier that AKK will organize the process for choosing a chancellor candidate by the summer. She will give up the leadership as soon as she makes sure that the CDU is prepared for the future, he added.

Kramp-Karrenbauer was picked as CDU chief back in 2018, being widely seen as Merkel's potential successor. But a series of political scandals made critics argue that the 57-year-old politician isn't up to the top job.

Last week’s news further undermined her political career. At the time, regional MPs in the eastern state of Thuringia gathered to approve a new government after last October’s elections.

No party secured an overwhelming majority but Thuringia’s former Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party, sought to stay in office, benefiting from an alliance with the Greens and Social Democrats.

All of a sudden, the CDU sided with rightwing Alternative for Germany (AfD) and pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), electing Ramelow’s rival Thomas Kemmerich instead, breaking a long-standing taboo on cooperating with AfD.

The rebellious CDU move not only sent shockwaves through the ruling center-right coalition, but also showed AKK was effectively powerless to maintain order in her own party.

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