Where will Kramp-Karrenbauer take the CDU?

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has become the new leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, after narrowly defeating rival Friedrich Merz with 51.75 percent in the run-off vote. A close ally of the chancellor, AKK promised she would nonetheless stand up to Merkel "when it was in the party's interest". Europe's journalists discuss in which direction the new leader will steer Germany's strongest party.

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Newsweek Polska (PL) /

Nothing changes with AKK

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer won't change a thing in the CDU, Newsweek Polska comments:

“The Merkel-AKK plan has entered its final phase. No one doubts that the election of 56-year-old Kramp-Karrenbauer will allow Merkel to continue leading the party unhindered. For that reason many CDU members don't see this switchover at the top as bringing real change. To convince the majority of delegates of her merits and truly replace Merkel, Kramp-Karrenbauer will have to step out of the chancellor's shadow.”

Tageblatt (LU) /

A conservative renewer

Tageblatt, by contrast, rubbishes the idea that Kramp-Karrenbauer's election means no more than continuity:

“Kramp-Karrenbauer has cleverly distanced herself from Merkel on certain topics. For example she categorically rejects gay marriage - which is nothing short of scandalous in this day and age. ... And on the subject of migration she even trumped Horst Seehofer, who has no qualms about flirting with the far right, when she said that refugees most certainly should be sent back to Syria. Yet AKK is more socially-minded than her neo-liberal rival Friedrich Merz, whom she beat only by a narrow margin. ... A bit of Merkel, a pinch of Seehofer, somewhat less Merz and almost no Spahn. So yes, AKK really could stand for a conservative 'renewal'. Still in the centre but somewhat more conservative. In contrast, the line represented by Merz or Spahn was too hard, too radical.”

Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

CDU unwilling to take risks

Mladá fronta dnes is disappointed with the result of the leadership race:

“More than anything else what the CDU needs now is a conservative renaissance if it wants to avoid the same fate as the SPD. But half of the delegates in Hamburg lacked the necessary courage. With the new party leader they chose to risk losing even more voters than giving themselves a truly right-wing, conservative profile. In the event that the CDU under AKK fails in the upcoming regional parliament elections, challengers are already waiting in the wings. For instance the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet, or Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier. Although admittedly they're simply male clones of Angela Merkel.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Germany remains stable

Jyllands-Posten is relieved that Kramp-Karrenbauer was the successful candidate:

“In view of the political turmoil that is spreading across the continent Europe's biggest and strongest country bears a heavy responsibility. In terms of European policy there will be no changes whatsoever with Kramp-Karrenbauer. And overall it comes as a relief for Germany's neighbours, including Denmark, to see that Berlin will continue to offer predictability, stability and order.”