Sunday, 18 November, 2018

The candidates looking to succeed Merkel as CDU leader

Merkel Coalition Set for Another Battering in Hesse Elections			ODD ANDERSEN  AFP  Getty Images		28 Oct 2018 Merkel Coalition Set for Another Battering in Hesse Elections ODD ANDERSEN AFP Getty Images 28 Oct 2018
Charlie Simmons | 30 October, 2018, 05:08

Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners gave her conservatives until next year to deliver more policy results, threatening to end their alliance if there is no improvement after both parties suffered in a regional election on Sunday.

"Angela Merkel knows quite clearly that she is living through the last months or through the previous year of her chancellorship", Werner Patzelt, a politics professor at the Technical University in Dresden, told NBC News.

After news of Merkel's decision not to stand for re-election as leader of the CDU, [Andrea] Nahles ruled out a change in leadership in her party.

The announcement is a sign of Merkel's weakened power within her own party, and waning popularity in the country.

While making her announcement, Merkel declined to back any of the several CDU members who are seeking to replace her as party chair.

The results of the October elections in Bavaria and Hesse will be seen as a bellwether for the entire nation. The majority no longer trusts Angela Merkel - after 13 years in office - to steer the process of renewal.

In Germany, many begged to differ, especially the anti-immigration and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose angriest rallying cry is "Merkel must go". But she has been a stalwart face of Western democracy through turbulent times, including the European debt crisis, the migrant influx of 2015, Britain's decision to leave the EU and escalating trade tensions with the United States.

What it means for Merkel?

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said on Sunday it would be "a mistake" for Merkel to cling to power.

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"I believe we need to turn a new page", Ms Merkel said.

She intends to remain chancellor until 2021, when her parliamentary term runs out, the Associated Press cited her as saying.

Merkel now governs Germany in a "grand coalition" of what traditionally have been the country's biggest parties - the CDU, Bavaria's CSU, and the Social Democrats.

Merkel said CDU party Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Health Minister Jens Spahn-a leading critic of the chancellor-announced they would seek the party chair.

Potential successors include Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, General Secretary of the CDU; Jens Spahn, Health Minister; Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North-Rhine-Westphalia; Julia Klöckner, Agriculture Minister; Daniel Günther, Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein and Friedrich Merz, former Merkel rival, now inactive. The center-left Social Democratic Party, or SPD, is also part of the coalition.

Many liberals around the world may still hail the brainy, pragmatic and unflappable Merkel as a welcome counter-balance to the big, brash men of global politics, from Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin.

Both polls were seen as damning verdicts on Merkel's grand left-right coalition in Berlin which has lurched from crisis to crisis, often over the hot-button issue of migration.

The 38-year old politician represents the party's right-wing faction and has sought to position himself as a possible Merkel successor for some time. "Maybe, it will be good for the CDU if a new boss comes, but it would be good for Germany if a new leader took over the government", Lindner said.

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