Germany’s Christian Democratic Union to elect new leader by Friday

Germany’s Christian Democratic Union to elect new leader by Friday

Today, the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) 1,001 delegates will gather in Hamburg to elect a new party leader. There are

merz akk cdu leadership vote

Photo: AFP

Today, the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) 1,001 delegates will gather in Hamburg to elect a new party leader.

There are two frontrunners in the race to succeed current party leader Chancellor Angela Merkel. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, known as AKK, is a Merkel ally and represents continuity, while business-friendly conservative Friedrich Merz would be a shift to the right for the party

A Merz victory could see the already shaky grand coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) unravel. The SPD is a reluctant coalition partner as is and may see the election of a conservative to the CDU’s top post as the final straw. Should the SPD abandon its coalition partner in the event that Merz is elected, new federal elections would likely held before Merkel’s term as chancellor expires in 2021.

Either way, with the CDU’s popularity waning, the party’s next leader will need to recapture votes that have gone to either the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) or left Greens. If successful, Merz will likely target AfD votes with a crackdown on migration, while AKK could use Germany’s budget surplus to increase public service spending to appeal to left-leaning voters.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.