Germany’s Kramp-Karrenbauer steps up CDU succession planning

Germany’s Kramp-Karrenbauer steps up CDU succession planning

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BERLIN – Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will meet contenders to replace her as Christian Democrat (CDU) leader next week, she told Reuters on Wednesday, forging ahead with the succession process after senior party figures pressed for a swift decision.
Kramp-Karrenbauer gave up her ambitions of succeeding Chancellor Angela Merkel, her mentor, on Monday – a move that raised questions over the future of the conservatives’ coalition with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).
The CDU must now embark on finding a new leader and chancellor candidate for the next federal election, due by October 2021, to avoid leaving the world’s fourth biggest economy and the European Union’s leading power in a state of political limbo.
On Monday, Kramp-Karrenbauer said she would organize a process to fill both the party chief and chancellor candidate roles in the summer. But senior CDU party members, fearing a vacuum, have since pressed her to accelerate that timetable.
“We will start the personnel selection process next week. I have invited those whose names are currently circulating for one-on-one interviews,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a television interview.
“At the moment, there are three names circulating in public. Whether more come forward, and what gender they are, we will see,” she said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer’s erstwhile rivals for the party leadership – Friedrich Merz and Jens Spahn – and Armin Laschet, premier of Germany’s most populous state and a Merkel ally, have been widely discussed in German media as the most likely contenders.
A source close to Merz said on Wednesday he planned to seek the party leadership.
Both Merz and Spahn are clearly to the right of the centrist, consensus-seeking Merkel and, if one of them wins and seeks to sharpen the CDU’s profile before the next election, he might put pressure on her to step aside early.
That thought prompted the Social Democrats on Wednesday to say they could quit as junior coalition partner if Merkel is forced out as chancellor

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