Home / World / The race to succeed Germany’s Merkel is underway. But it’s still a confusing pack.

The race to succeed Germany’s Merkel is underway. But it’s still a confusing pack.

The voting winner at this weekend’s online party meeting usually has a clear path to becoming a Christian Democrat’s candidate as chancellor to replace Merkel, who said she would not run for election. New when Germany holds elections in September

But nothing is given this time – considering no leader can create much influence on voters.

The open field presents the challenges Merkel̵

7;s party faces in Merkel’s post-election disguise ahead of the election, ending her 16-year tenure as Chancellor, her solid leadership through disease uncertainty. The global pandemic made her more popular than ever in the electorate.

That puts her party in a strong position ahead of the election – enjoying a 10 percent increase in vote since the start of the epidemic – and will give her party’s candidates a good position as a new leader. Of Germany

In the competition Merkel, all-time rival, Friedrich Merz; Foreign policy expert Norbert Roettgen; And Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s and regional industrial hub hailed by the three candidates.

The new party leader will be decided by 1,001 party representatives, most of whom hold some kind of political office. Results will not be announced until January 22, as delegates vote by mail.

An ambiguous race for the leadership of the party was unprecedented, said one Christian Democrat politician, who spoke on terms of anonymity for comment. Honestly about the situation within the party

“Every candidate has a lot of strategic issues that have not been resolved,” he said, “and that’s pretty clear for most delegates.”

He said he had spoken to dozens and at least a third was unsure.

“Anything could happen,” the politician added.

A year ago, the question of who will succeed as Merkel leader and become a promising candidate has already been decided.

But after the political falter Kramp-Karrenbauer It announced his resignation in February over a scandal involving the far-right party in the regional elections.

The outbreak has slowed down two votes to elect a replacement. In the meantime, Merkel’s popularity soared. She has an approval rating of about 70 percent.

“Changing Angela Merkel was a difficult task,” said Jürgen Folter, professor of political science at the University of Mainz. Trouble keeping track of them “

The boring trio

Among the three in the competition, Laschet was seen as an ongoing candidate. He gave little indication that he would go a long way from Merkel’s foreign policy line.

As well as being a state leader, he has led a party branch in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most powerful regional bloc since 2017, but while he may have been popular with those The central administration of the party must decide. It is popular with three candidates in most German voter elections.

Then there’s Roettgen, who a decade ago was seen as a Christian Democrat’s wanderer, earning him the nickname “mutti’s klugster” or “the wisest mother” and is often called “mutti’s klugster”. It was Merkel’s successor, often referred to as “Mutti,” but Merkel fired her ministerial post after he led the party in 2012 to the worst election loss. In North Rhine-Westphalia

Roettgen, head of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, has positioned himself as a creator of modernization and possibly a consensus candidate within the party.

A Christian Democrat poll supported this week by the German channel ARD showed Merz was ahead with 29 percent and Roettgen and Laschet at 25 percent.

But it is not a broad party membership that only votes for the 1,001 delegates to choose.

That could hurt a third candidate, Merz, who is not as popular with party decision-makers as he has a broader rating and file, Falter said.

“He’s too independent, overly open, and he likes to conflict with others,” he said. “Their middle executives don’t like that.”

Merz is seen as the biggest break from Merkel’s tenure and is expected to lead the party back to its right-wing roots after Merkel moved to the center.

In a televised debate between the three hopes late last year, Merz dominated post-debate news coverage with his comments blaming Germany’s unemployment figures from the 2015 influx of refugees.

For more than a decade, Merkel had him quit politics, and there was no secret of the hatred between the two Merz, a billionaire who served on the board of German companies, including BlackRock and Ernst & Young, announced his return to politics in The year 2018 after Merkel announced he would not run for new election.

Merkel factor

Whoever wins the leadership race, the question of who will be the September party’s candidacy will remain. No one could be sure that the last power boost of the party belonged to Merkel.

“This gives us a new opportunity,” said CDU Congressman Michael Meister, “but the question is what will happen when the pandemic is over?”

That made the party try to figure out how much it would separate from her tenure.

“On the one hand, we should not distance Angela Merkel and the government for the past 15 years, and on the other hand, we have to show it is the government of the future,” Meister said.

Then there was another doubt. The Christian Democrats will have to work together to decide their candidate with the smaller sister party, the Christian Social Union, which operates in Bavaria. Solely

And that party leader, Markus Söder, is close to Merkel’s approval rating. In a December poll by Der Spiegel magazine, 60 percent of respondents said they wanted to see him play a “big role” in Germany’s future.

The country’s health minister, Jens Spahn, came in at 60 percent as well, Röttgen and Merz bottomed at 34 percent and Laschet at 31.

“At the end of the day, the question is who will you win the general election with,” said another Christian Democrat politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the hearing. Of the party’s belief that Markus Söder is a better candidate, he is more likely to be a candidate. ”

In recent weeks, party officials have increased the possibility that the candidate could be entirely someone else, such as Spahn.

“For CDU, the challenge of what to do after Merkel was hanged for a long time,” said Sarah Wiliarty, an associate professor at the University of Weslyan, a European party woman researcher. “Her seal at the party was unbelievably long. I don’t think they’ll figure out what to do next. ”

William Glucroft contributed to this report.

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