Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to be sworn in as Germany’s new defence minister

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) will be sworn in as defence minister today. Some believe AKK is

akk defence minister merkel

Photo: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s protege Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) will be sworn in as defence minister today.

Some believe AKK is vying to become Ms Merkel’s successor. Even though AKK was polling below Green Party candidate Robert Habeck and Social Democrats frontrunner Olaf Scholz as preferred chancellor, a door to the politically influential defence ministry was opened for her when incumbent Ursula von der Leyden was unexpectedly elected president of the European Commission on July 16.

Prior to the shakeup, Ms Merkel had previously announced her intention to retire from politics in 2021. AKK was elected as leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on December 8.

The question of who will succeed Chancellor Merkel and when stands at the forefront of German politics. Despite Ms Merkel’s announcement, some wonder if she will retire earlier than 2021 due to health concerns, given three recent incidents in which her body shook as she stood at public events.

AKK appears to be the frontrunner, but she has drawn considerable criticism from those within and outside her party for a number of gaffes and a precipitous drop in her poll numbers since she was appointed defence minister.

An AKK chancellorship is not off the table, but given her history and disappointing European Parliament election returns for the CDU, do not rule out a more left-wing CDU alternative candidate as a contender, like North Rhine-Westphalia governor Armin Laschet.

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