Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Germany's Christian Democratic Union Chooses Merkel's Successor

Merkel Protege Kramp Karrenbauer Succeeds Her as German CDU Leader End of an era: Merkel passes torch to new party leader
Steven Clarke | 07 December, 2018, 19:25

Chancellor Angela Merkel will be replaced by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

Merz, 63, took clear positions that appealed to rank-and-file party members hungry for a more clearly defined party after 13 years under Merkel as chancellor.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves after her speech at the party convention of the Christian Democratic Party CDU in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

The 56-year-old, now CDU general secretary, beat Friedrich Merz by 517 to 482 votes to clinch the leadership position. 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. A third candidate, Health Minister Jens Spahn, was eliminated in a first round of voting. 1001 delegates are electing a successor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who doesn't run again for party chairmanship after more than 18 years at the helm of the party.

Pointing to the rise of populism worldwide and what she called a breakdown of shared Western values, Merkel said the order she had championed was at risk. She has pledged to listen to the party more than Merkel did, and to be less passive, and more willing to challenge the status quo, repeatedly using the complex phrase "the normative power of facts" ("die normative Kraft des Faktischen") to argue: "I will be less inclined to accept as immutable fact that things are the way they are". "Merz could be tempted to see his revenge and lunge for power (as soon as next year)".

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

DoubleLine's Gundlach: Treasury curve inversion signal 'economy poised to weaken'
An inversion between 3-month Treasury bills and 10-year Treasury notes is viewed as a "more appropriate indicator" of a recession. The Fed, as of September, expected to hit 3.1 percent by the end of 2019 and continue as high as 3.4 percent the following year.

'Now it is time to open a new chapter, ' Merkel said.

National broadsheet Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Schaeuble's move signalled that the CDU's long-festering divisions, thinly veiled by unity behind Merkel, could well break out in the open after the conference.

AKK is believed to have Merkel's strong backing but much will depend on how deep and widespread the longing is for a stronger conservative profile.

Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer has said she wants to improve on Ms Merkel's legacy and has suggested she would encourage debate within her party on issues such as immigration to encourage new proposals that could become government policy.

The CDU has bled support to the right in the form of the AfD, as well as to the resurgent Greens.

Merkel suddenly announced she would step down as head of the CDU in October this year, after the party took a severe drubbing in two big state elections this year. But on what lies ahead for the CDU, Kramp-Karrenbauer said: "I have no particular recipe".

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