Battle to replace Angela Merkel is underway as delegates begin voting for her successor

Mail Online | 12/7/2018 | Sara Malm for MailOnline;Associated Press
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Chancellor Angela Merkel's ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been chosen to replace her as leader of the Christian Democratic Union party, after a runoff vote this afternoon.

Earlier today, Merkel marked the end of her 18 years as CDU leader with a farewell speech that moved some to tears at the party congress in Hamburg.

Merkel - October - Reins - Party - Chancellor

Merkel announced in October she would give up the reins in her party, though she plans to remain chancellor until her current term ends in 2021. However, it is possible that the next election could come earlier.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, is the CDU's general secretary and is closest to Mrs Merkel's centrist stance out of the three leadership candidates.

Leadership - Votes - Rival - Friedrich - Merz

She won the leadership with 517 votes versus the 482 of her rival, Friedrich Merz, whom she faced in a run-off after Health Secretary Jens Spahn, 38, was eliminated.

As she made her final speech before the 1,001 delegates gathered at the congress, Kramp-Karrenbauer made much of her 18 years of experience in regional government.

Leadership - Strength - Volume

She said she has learned that leadership 'is more about internal strength then external volume.'

Merkel has been CDU leader since 2000 and chancellor since 2005. She moved her party relentlessly to the center, dropping military conscription, accelerating Germany's exit from nuclear energy, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children and allowing the introduction of gay marriage.

Numbers - Asylum-seekers - Germany

Most controversially, she allowed large numbers of asylum-seekers into Germany in 2015.

Merkel listed some of those moments and many more in a half-hour farewell speech as leader, telling delegates that 'our CDU today...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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