Merkel ally Kramp-Karrenbauer elected new CDU leader

German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union Angela Merkel greets the audience

The new CDU leader will be chosen by 1,001 delegates who vote at a party congress in Hamburg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given an emotional farewell speech to her ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), as she steps down as party leader.

During her campaign to succeed Merkel as party leader, she repeatedly noted that she was able to blunt an onslaught by the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as it picked up seats in state after state.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's party is meeting Friday to elect a new leader who could help shape Germany's political direction for the next generation.

The third candidate, health minister Jens Spahn, appears to have less chance of winning.

Follow Sputnik's live feed to find out more.

"We kept a cool head", she said.

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. What she has said about the Merkel era became something of a slogan for her candidacy: "One cannot arbitrarily continue in the same vein, neither can one dismiss it".

After being nominated by Chancellor Merkel, AKK was elected as CDU general secretary with a record 98.9% of the vote.

She reminded the CDU of other electoral successes last year, avoiding mention of this year's setbacks in state elections, which were heavy blows for her.

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.

While she has called for tougher policies on refugees who commit crimes, AKK firmly backed Merkel's fateful 2015 decision to welcome more than one million asylum-seekers from crisis zones such as Syria and Iraq.

Delegates hold a cardboards reading: "Thank you chief for 18 years as CDU chairwoman" during Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party congress in Hamburg, Germany, December 7, 2018.

While Merkel remains popular, AKK inherits a diminished party which is now polling at roughly 30 percent, far below the about 40 percent enjoyed during Merkel's heyday.

Merkel, however, recalled that the CDU was in a deep crisis when she took over in 2000, mired in a party financing scandal surrounding ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

They were said to be reasonably close, and the lack of communication between the two raised eyebrows at the time.

"We can't afford another year like 2018 when we fought so much", he told public broadcaster ZDF.

Merkel appealed to the party to show unity, noting that arguments in recent years over migration have showed "where endless arguments lead".

'I wasn't born as chancellor or as party leader, ' she said.

The party has long languished in Merkel's shadow and could well decide to jump ship before 2021 to seek to avert further vote debacles - a move that would nearly certainly trigger new elections.

She was given a 10-minute standing ovation with cries of "Danke Angie" to acknowledge her 18 years in the job.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

SPOTY Betting: Tyson Fury can become the people's champion in Birmingham
When he had given his statements over camera, he simply said that his comeback was really ionic. Joshua is keen to fight both Wilder and Fury. "And I'm ready to do it again".

Dolly Parton Goes Christmas Crazy While Decorating for the Holidays
"How lucky I am I got through (fame) without having any emotional scarring ", Aniston said when reflecting on her career. Dolly Parton definitely loves to get into the Christmas spirit! "I just think it's cute", she added.

Who Is William Barr?
At the Justice Department, Barr's work ranged from combatting violent crime to investigation the Pan Am 103 bombing. Donald Trump will nominate William Barr as attorney general, the president confirmed on Friday.

How Arsenal Transfer News Affect Their Odds to Win?
Other players rumored to be destined for Arsenal include; Sokratis Papastathopoulos, from Borussia Dortmund, and Saul Niguez. If they are rumored to buy an elite player, during the transfer window, they play well which increases the odds of winning.

Online Sports Betting Market Growth
Benefits With the market high, sports betting is an activity that receives a high level of support from online betting companies. More betters are opting to forego the long lines at the cashier's counter and the unavailability of their favorite machines.

Other news