Merkel chooses her successor - successfully?

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is to become general secretary of the CDU. The current premier of the state of Saarland is considered to be closely allied to Merkel. Europe's media analyse the strategy behind the decision.

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Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

Pragmatic, centrist, unpretentious

By appointing Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Angela Merkel is focusing on continuity, the Wiener Zeitung comments:

“The decision in favour of Kramp-Karrenbauer sends an interesting message: just as Merkel is being forced by the mounting disgruntlement in the party to send out signals regarding personnel changes at the top, she gives the strategically important job of managing the party to the politician who resembles her most in style and content: pragmatic, centrist, unpretentious. You don't have to be a prophet to see Kramp-Karrenbauer as Merkel's own preferred successor. The moment Merkel appointed her, she also tasked her with renewing the CDU from the bottom up.”

The Times (GB) /

Chancellor wants to preserve her legacy

With Kramp-Karrenbauer's appointment Merkel is not just putting a potential successor in place, The Times surmises:

“Mrs Merkel is trying to preserve her legacy of modernising Germany's weakened centre right. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer leads the coalition with the Social Democrats [in the German state of Saarland] and has made a name as an expert on labour and welfare issues. ...The most likely scenario is that this revived alliance of the main centrist parties will continue but that Mrs Merkel, under pressure from conservatives, will step down early before contesting the 2021 election. That is when Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer could step up.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Is Annegret too much like Angela?

Merkel's strategy may backfire, warns Corriere della Sera:

“The strategy is clear. Merkel wants to orchestrate her long goodbye and is offering Kramp-Karrenbauer a national stage where she can show that she has what it takes to succeed. A scenario that seems to be repeating itself, because Angela Merkel also began her relentless climb to the top as secretary general under Wolfgang Schäuble's leadership in 1998. Two years later she took over as party leader and in 2005 she became chancellor. ... Angela and Annegret are so alike in terms of style, character and their moderate and at times boring tone that the latter has been dubbed 'mini-Merkel'. ... And precisely that could become a problem in a party that is trying to engender a more charismatic leadership - after the big and comfortable sleep of Merkelism.”