Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer elected as Merkel's replacement

Germany’s Christian Democrats elect Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as their new leader.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Germany’s Christian Democrats on Friday elected Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a moderate former state premier, as their new leader to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel, Politico reports.

Merkel announced in October that she would resign as head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), though she is hoping to remain chancellor, after being reelected in September of 2017.

At a party congress in Hamburg, Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU’s secretary-general, won 517 votes in a run-off ballot, defeating Friedrich Merz, who received 482 votes. Health Minister Jens Spahn was eliminated in the first round.

Though the CDU and its Bavarian sister party have suffered dramatic declines at the ballot box in recent months, their center-right bloc known as the Union, which has led Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, remains the country's dominant political force.

With her victory, Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, not only became CDU leader, she also became the favorite to succeed Merkel as chancellor.

“This momentum must continue and it must be combined with the goal that unites us all — namely to make sure the Union — with all wings, with all members, with all those who hold responsibility — remains the great, common Volkspartei of the center," she said after her victory, using the German term for a big-tent political party.

Although Merkel did not endorse any candidate in the leadership race, Kramp-Karrenbauer was widely seen as her favorite, according to Politico.

A victory by Merz, an old Merkel rival and critic who pledged to move the party to the right, would have amounted to a rebuke of her 18-year tenure as party leader, making it difficult for Merkel to stay on through the end of her term as chancellor in 2021.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)